Splenic lacerations and return to play: Case report of 2 professional hockey players

Matthew L. Silvis, Michael J. Plakke, Joshua G. Tice, Kevin P. Black

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Several sports medicine reviews have highlighted a 3- to 6-month time frame for return to play after splenic lacerations. These reviews are based on several well-defined grading scales for splenic injury based on computed tomography (CT). None of the articles suggest that serial CT scanning is necessary for follow-up; some even indicate that it has no role in the management of these injuries. Hypothesis: With proper follow-up and possibly the use of serial CT scanning or other imaging modalities, it may be possible for athletes to safely return to play sooner than what current guidelines recommend. Study Design: The authors present 2 cases of professional hockey players who both suffered grade III splenic lacerations while playing. Methods: Both players were treated conservatively and monitored with serial CT scanning until radiographic and clinical findings suggested complete healing. Results: Both players were able to return to full-contact professional hockey within 2 months after suffering grade III splenic lacerations. Neither athlete suffered any complications after his return. Conclusions: With CT scanning, 2 athletes were able to return to play earlier (2 months) than previously recommended (3-6 months) without compromising their safety. Clinical relevance: Additional cases must be examined before outlining more definitive recommendations regarding splenic lacerations in sports, but it is possible that elite athletes may return to play sooner than what the current literature recommends.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)232-235
Number of pages4
JournalSports Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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