Transverse Process Fracture: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

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Cam Newton was involved in a car accident early Tuesday afternoon on a stretch of highway near Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. Newton was immediately taken to Carolinas Medical Center, where an MRI revealed two transverse process fractures in his back. Newton will be kept overnight for further evaluation.

The transverse process fracture is a fairly rare injury, but one from which patients can quickly recover.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. It’s an Injury of the Spine

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Superior view (from above) of the anatomy of a vertebra. Vertebrae are the bones that make up the spine. (Wikipedia)

According to Sports Injury Clinic:

A transverse process is a bony protrusion from the back of a vertebrae bone in the spine. There is one on each side of every vertebrae in the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine. … A transverse process fracture … usually results from a sudden extreme twisting or side-bending movement. Occasionally it may be due to a direct impact to the process itself, although they are pretty well covered by muscle so this is not common.

2. It’s Not Dangerous Nor a Prelude to Paralysis

Recently, Dr. Chao has been a popular Twitter follow for news and information regarding sports-related injuries to athletes as they happen.

3. The Injury Does Not Require Any Extensive Treatment

In order to determine injury in the vertebrae, CT or MRI scans may be performed. If tests reveal an injury, there are several non-surgical, non-rehabilitative methods to treat the injury. Also from SIC:

The majority of fractures are treated conservatively, without surgery. A brace may be used to ensure the spine is kept still and straight to allow healing of the bone. A gradual introduction of spinal movement can be used once the bone has healed and the patient is pain-free.

4. Although It’s Still Undetermined, Newton Could Miss Sunday’s Game

For precautionary reasons, Newton may not play Sunday’s home game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Carolina’s backup quarterback is Derek Anderson, who has already started once in Newton’s place this season.

5. Tony Romo Had the Same Injury & Only Missed 1 Game

Earlier this season, Tony Romo suffered the same injury when he was sacked in a game against the Washington Redskins on Monday Night Football. Romo ended up only missing one week due to the injury.