Neurosurgeons and Their Contributions to Modern-Day Athletics: Richard C. Schneider Memorial Lecture

Ian F. Dunn, MD; Gavin Dunn, MD, PHD; Arthur L. Day, MD

Disclosures

Neurosurg Focus. 2006;21(4) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

Abstract

Neurosurgeons in the last half-century have had considerable influence on modern-day athletics. In this article, the authors address the contributions made by neurosurgeons as clinician–scientists, particularly as these relate to the understanding and reduction of the incidence and severity of injury to the nervous system during athletic competition. American football has been a proving ground for the ability of the craniospinal axis to withstand and, in unfortunate cases, succumb to tremendous impact forces; in this way, it has served as a model for translational research and was the arena in which Dr. Richard Schneider made his greatest contributions to sports neurosurgery. Therefore, in his memory and in the spirit of the Schneider lectureship, the authors outline the notable contribution to modern-day athletics made by neurosurgeons as it applies to American football. Neurosurgeons have had considerable influence on reducing injury severity, and this cause has been championed by a few notable individuals whose efforts are discussed herein.

Introduction

Neurosurgeons and their contributions to modern-day athletics can be examined from the viewpoint of their individual athletic accomplishments while at school or from their role as treating physicians caring for individual athletes or teams. In this article, however, we address the contributions made by neurosurgeons as clinician–scientists who aimed at understanding and reducing the incidence and severity of injury to the nervous system during athletic competition. American football is an ideal model for translational research in the head (brain) and spine (spinal cord, nerve roots), and because it was the vehicle that Dr. Schneider used in his investigations, we have chosen it as our athletic vehicle to outline these contributions ( Table 1 ).

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