Did you know that some football players you enjoy watching play have scoliosis?
What is scoliosis, and is it a serious health condition?
Scoliosis refers to a curved spine. Instead of having a normal straight spine, individuals with scoliosis have an abnormally curved spine that may take a C or S shape.
Scoliosis takes several forms, starting with idiopathic scoliosis, which is common among adolescents.
Congenital scoliosis happens at birth, while neuromuscular scoliosis results from conditions affecting nerves and muscles like cerebral palsy.
Another type of scoliosis is degenerative, which affects the elderly because of their spine’s wear and tear.
On scoliosis treatment options, severe cases can be remedied through surgery to straighten the spine.
Moderate scoliosis can be rectified using braces to avoid further curving, while health practitioners observe mild cases to ensure their degree of curvature doesn’t grow.
Back to footballers with scoliosis, the condition didn’t stop them from achieving their field success.
Since one has to meet strict physical health standards to play professional football, most players had their scoliosis condition treated in their younger years.
It remains unclear if some players have undergone treatment to improve their spinal disease, and some may have mild scoliosis that doesn’t pose health risks.
Below is the list:
Thiago Silva plays for Brazil’s national team and Chelsea football club.
The 39-year-old footballer boasts an illustrious football career, having won the Champions League with Chelsea, Serie A with AC Milan, and Ligue 1 titles with PSG.
The Chelsea defender had scoliosis during his younger years, but it didn’t prevent him from building a successful football career.
No confirmed reports reveal whether Thiago’s scoliosis was treated or disappeared after playing football or if he still has it.
Angel Di Maria has been privileged to play for top football clubs like Real Madrid, Manchester United, PSG, and Juventus.
He plays for Benfica, where his professional football career kicked off in 2007 before top clubs signed him.
Di Maria was diagnosed with scoliosis while young. His scoliosis must have been severe because he underwent surgery to straighten his spine.
Despite sustaining many injuries in his career, Di Maria has accomplished much, including winning a World Cup with Argentina, his national team.
Giorgio Chiellini, a former Juventus player, plays for Los Angeles FC.
The Italian player also plays for the Italy national team as a defender.
Chiellini was diagnosed with scoliosis at a young age. To attain the needed fitness to play professional football, he underwent therapy and could continue playing football like other players.
Chiellini’s defensive and player-marking skills are internationally recognized, making him a crucial player for Italy and his football club.
The former Celtic player also shared his struggle with scoliosis.
Mark, who played for Dundee United, Celtic, and Bristol City football clubs before retiring in 2015, was diagnosed with scoliosis in his teenage years.
A surgery to stabilize his curved spine allowed him to enjoy playing professional football.
He, however, had a rocky time at Celtic due to repetitive injury problems that saw him spend most of the time on the bench.
The former player of Brazil’s national team and football clubs like Inter Milan, PSG, and Barcelona also had a difficult time with scoliosis.
He didn’t allow the condition to affect his football career and sought medical attention to manage it.
After retiring from playing football, Thiago ventured into coaching and is Bologna’s current head coach.
Another former professional footballer who battled scoliosis, Ignazio, had to manage the condition to perform well on the field.
He was a youth when he was diagnosed with the condition.
Iganzio’s defensive role at the national and club levels helped his teams immensely.
The 27-year-old former England player plays for AC Milan in the midfield position.
The former Chelsea player shared his struggles with scoliosis and his decision to seek treatment.
Loftus had spent 19 years at Chelsea before the club sold him to AC Milan in June.
The 42-year-old is also reported to have had scoliosis, but it didn’t affect his football career negatively.
While there are no reports of how Marius handled scoliosis, the former Lithuanian soccer star, now into coaching, played remarkable games in his prime.
The ability to play football with scoliosis depends on its severity.
Scoliosis in kids is primarily mild, which means they can comfortably play soccer.
Playing football helps kids and adolescents with scoliosis stabilize their spine.
However, players with moderate and severe scoliosis should avoid playing football as it may aggravate the condition.
In such cases, one should seek medical attention first and have the condition treated before embarking on playing football.