Sports participation with Chiari I malformation

Jennifer Strahle, Ndi Geh, Béla J. Selzer, Regina Bower, Mai Himedan, Mary Kathryn Strahle, Nicholas M. Wetjen, Karin M. Muraszko, Hugh J.L. Garton, Cormac O. Maher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Objective There is currently no consensus on the safety of sports participation for patients with Chiari I malformation (CM-I). The author's goal was to define the risk of sports participation for children with the imaging finding of CM-I. Methods A prospective survey was administered to 503 CM-I patients at 2 sites over a 46-month period. Data were gathered on imaging characteristics, treatment, sports participation, and any sport-related injuries. Additionally, 81 patients completed at least 1 subsequent survey following their initial entry into the registry and were included in a prospective group, with a mean prospective follow-up period of 11 months. Results Of the 503 CM-I patients, 328 participated in sports for a cumulative duration of 4641 seasons; 205 of these patients participated in contact sports. There were no serious or catastrophic neurological injuries. One patient had temporary extremity paresthesias that resolved within hours, and this was not definitely considered to be related to the CM-I. In the prospective cohort, there were no permanent neurological injuries. Conclusions No permanent or catastrophic neurological injuries were observed in CM-I patients participating in athletic activities. The authors believe that the risk of such injuries is low and that, in most cases, sports participation by children with CM-I is safe.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)403-409
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2016


  • Chiari malformation
  • Concussion
  • Incidence
  • Injury
  • Safety
  • Sports

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Neurology


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