View Full Version : Expectation of Sport after Fusion?

09-19-2005, 12:19 AM
My daughter Vicky is 13, and a rep(resentative) player in soccer (National rep), cricket (Auckland) and Field Hockey (North Harbour). She tore her ACL in her knee, recently, at soccer, and whilst at the ortho, was found to have a 38 degree thoracic scoliosis!! As her periods have yet to come, and her bone maturity (Risser scale) is low, meaning lots of growth spurt to come, she has been told that fusion is almost certain!! The ortho says regular Xrays will be done, & that fusion should take place when the angle gets to >45 degrees.
She is obviously a very sad little girl, as are her parents.
My question is this:
After a thoracic fusion, over about 6-7 levels, what level of sport should she be able to aim for, and after how long? She really wants to get back to hockey (field), as well as other general sports, especially as she is a talented sports person. Will she make the higher grades of rep sport? Does anyone have experience in this?
The double whammy is the knee which needs reconstruction, but preferably only after a growth spurt, and probably after the spinal fusion!
Thank you!

11-03-2005, 10:37 PM
hmm...im not really sure. I had a lumbar curve of 45-50ish and had a spinal fusion. I run and ride horseback..and some biking. I do know dancers that have made a good comeback as well. I would imagine that soccer is a possiblity eventually..just severl months off (6-8) for a good recover...this is from my experiance. if it is possible, have her keep in shape before the surgery, like peak condition, because that will REALLY help the recovery!!
hope this helps a little!! :o

11-04-2005, 04:45 AM
i was fused T11-L3 in july (that's 5 vertebrae) and at 7 weeks post op i was swimming and driving, two weeks later i was back on a horse with my surgeon's consent. this is pretty unusual, to be cleared to ride so quickly, and he told me then expressly no contact sports (which didn't bother me, i don't do them) and that includes hockey. i saw him again 7 weeks later and was told i could do whatever i like and not to see him for another 6 months. i've recovered quickly because my fusion is short and i think is in a "good" place, if such a thing exists.

if your daughter is willing to wait up to a year (surgeons vary on when they lift restrictions and some of it depends on the patient too) then she should (barring complications) be able to play again. however, if you spend such a long time away from sport, you have to build back up again, you can't run on to the pitch immediately as you were. i was out of the saddle for 10 weeks to the day and i am still a long way from riding like i used to, but i will eventually. if you have any other questions, feel free to private message me

11-04-2005, 08:38 AM
My daughter had spinal fusion(T4-L3) May 16, and she is a college soccer player. Her Dr. released her to play and train as her body allowed at 3 months post op. She is now 5 1/2 months post op. She jogs, runs, but isn't comfortable sprinting. She does a lot of ball touches and just last week went on the practice field with the team, and tried one vs one drills and it caused pain with contact. I think the 9 months to a year recovery is a much more realistic expectation, and in the spring my daughter fully expects to be playing again. Good luck to your daughter.

11-04-2005, 08:28 PM

I had a spinal fusion with Harrington Rods from T4 to L3 in 1979. After one year, I was back into activity. I did avoid contact sports like Field Hockey and Basketball for several years, but that did not stop me from being active. I ran competitive track and cross country less than 2 years after my surgery and am still competing in Triathlons as an age grouper. I also played soccer in high school. So, ask your child's surgeon what is suggested. I was advised to avoid contact sports, but I was told that other sports were permitted as I tolerated them. Depending on the surgery, your surgeon, how your child responds to the surgery and how she recovers, I am sure that she can lead an active and happy life. I know that I have and still am. I am careful with the sports I choose, but I am highly competitive in the ones I have chosen. I am sure that she will be fine. Just make sure that the fusion has fully healed before she gets back into competition. Good luck!


Janice in MT
11-05-2005, 09:08 PM
This message is directed to Marmyte, Cowgirl87 and any other equestrians visiting this forum.
IT was great to know that riding is definitley still possible for my 16 year old daughter who was recently diagnosised with 29 degree curvature in her lower back. The doctor she saw put no limitations on her activities but the pain she experiences is creating self imposed limitations.
After riding this morning she is having severe spasms in her back. How did you ladies deal with painful episoides brought on by your riding as a result of your scoliosis?
Any been there, done that, know that tips would be greatly appreciated.
She rides in a dressage saddle and has been riding for 8 years.
Many thanks,

11-06-2005, 05:30 AM
hey janice :)

i'm 18 now (had surgery this summer) and have been riding since i was 4. when i was first diagnosed, i didn't tell any of my friends, and people used to comment on how good my posture is (compared to some other teenagers who slouch and drag their feet, riding has always helped me stand up tall and walk well) but those were untrained eyes looking at me.

i was diagnosed with scoliosis at 14 and didn't start experiencing pain until i was about 16 (but at that point i didn't realise my scoliosis was causing my pain, so i just soldiered on) some people may not approve of what i used to do, but it worked for me - about a year ago, maybe 18 months ago, if i knew i was having a bad day with my back and i was going riding, i took a painkiller beforehand (just one nurofen, none of the stronger prescription meds) and that seemed to work, i've never got off a horse and felt in a lot of pain, apart from in april this year when i was thrown off, bounced off a wooden wall and landed flat on my back on the floor. i was stiff for a couple of days afterwards but thanks to application of arnica cream right afterwards, i didn't bruise. my parents got a bit paranoid when i fell off that time but i knew i hadn't damaged anything.

so really that's my only advice...of course if you ride and you start off tense, you get more and more tense throughout the session and it tends to hurt afterwards so i always think it's important to get on a horse relaxed and clear-minded. a couple of years ago i started stretching after a ride in the winter because i found the cold made me ache afterwards. i think because i didn't realise for a while what my pain was linked to that it wasn't so bad until i did realise what was causing it.

your doctor is right not to limit your daughter's activites at this stage, it's important to keep doing what you enjoy and what will keep you fit, especially something like riding which is good for your posture. will your daughter be receiving treatment now? feel free to send me a private message if you or your daughter want to talk further :)