Justin W Arner, Matthew T Provencher, James P Bradley, Peter J Millett, MD, MSc


Shoulder injuries are common in contact athletes and vary in severity because of the required complex interplay of shoulder stability and range of motion for proper function. Pathology varies based on sport but most commonly includes shoulder instability, acromioclavicular injuries, traumatic rotator cuff tears, and brachial plexus injuries. Acute management ranges from reduction of shoulder dislocations to physical examination to determine the severity of injury. Appropriate radiographs should be obtained to evaluate for alignment and fracture, with magnetic resonance imaging commonly being necessary for accurate diagnosis and management. Treatments range from surgical stabilization in shoulder instability to repeat examinations and physical therapy. Return-to-play decision making can be complex with avoidance of reinjury and player safety being of utmost concern. Appropriate evaluation and treatment are vital because repeat injury can lead to long-term effects due to the relatively high effect sometimes seen in contact sports.

You may request a copy of the study: Evaluation and Management of the Contact Athlete’s Shoulder