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8 NFL Players with Spinal Fusion

Playing professional football in the National Football League (NFL) is an occupation that demands an immense amount of physical and mental resilience, as players are frequently subjected to a range of injuries that can severely impact their performance and longevity on the field.

Among these injuries, one of the most challenging to recover from is a spinal fusion. This surgical procedure involves the fusion of two or more vertebrae in the spine, which is done to alleviate pain or address other spinal issues.

The recovery process for spinal fusion surgery can be lengthy and arduous, requiring significant rehabilitation and physical therapy to restore mobility and strength.

Over the years, several NFL players have undergone spinal fusion surgery, and some of them have successfully returned to the field.

Let us look at a few.

1. Justyn Ross

Justyn Ross is a 24-year-old wide receiver for the Kansas City Chiefs. After a collision with a linebacker in the spring of 2020, Ross fell and experienced numbness and tingling sensations in his arms and underwent spine scans per protocol.

The scans revealed that he was born with Klippel-Feil syndrome, a congenital fusion in his spine.

After several months, Ross underwent spinal fusion surgery in June 2020 to remove the disc that was pushing backward on his spine. R

oss was cleared to go back to the field in 2021 by his doctors.

2. Jermichael Finley

Jermichael Finley is a former American football tight end, born on March 26, 1987, in Lufkin, Texas.

During his football career, Jermichael Finley suffered from numerous injuries, including a spinal cord injury in 2013.

He was struck during a game against the Cleveland Browns, which caused a bruised spinal cord and required him to be taken off on a stretcher. He was later diagnosed with a spinal cord contusion and underwent spinal fusion surgery to fix the problem.

Finley’s spinal fusion surgery was successful, and he made a full recovery. However, the injury forced him to retire from professional football in 2015.

3. Levi Onwuzurike

Levi Onwuzurike is an American football defensive tackle for the Detroit Lions. He was born on March 2, 1998, in Allen, Texas.

Levi underwent a spinal fusion procedure in October 2022 to join two vertebrae in his lower back.

While in recovery, he fell down the stairs two months after the surgery. After five months of rehab, Levi made a full recovery and resumed his football career.

4. Damone Clark

Damone Clark is an American football linebacker for the NFL team Dallas Cowboys.

Clark underwent spinal fusion surgery in March 2022 after an MRI revealed that he had a herniated disc in his spine.

He was placed on injured reserve in October 2022. Fortunately, Clark fully recovered and returned to play for the Dallas Cowboys.

5. Tyrell Crosby

Tyrell Crosby is an American free-agent football offensive tackle who played for the Detroit Lions.

Crosby got a hamstring injury in August 2021 that went ignored. He received a cortisone shot to relieve his pain, but complications from the procedure resulted in excruciating headaches.

Upon seeking a spine specialist’s help, Crosby was diagnosed with a degenerative disk disorder in his lower back and underwent immediate spinal fusion surgery in December 2021.

He has since been a free-agent player after making a full recovery.

6. Ahmad Bradshaw

Ahmad Bradshaw is a retired American football running back who played for the New York Giants and Indianapolis Colts.

He suffered a spinal injury during the 2013 season while playing for the Colts.

Bradshaw underwent surgery to repair a bulging disk in his neck, followed by a second surgery a few months later to fuse two vertebrae in his neck.

The injury forced him to end his career and retire from football.

7. David Wilson

David Wilson is a former NFL running back who played for the New York Giants from 2012 to 2013.

His career was cut short due to a severe neck injury that he sustained during a game in 2013.

The injury was so intense that it required spinal fusion surgery to repair the damage.

Despite his injury, Wilson remained adamant on returning to the field. However, he ultimately decided to retire from football in August 2014 due to concerns about reinjuring his neck.

8. Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning is a retired American football quarterback who played in the National Football League (NFL) for 18 seasons.

In 2011, Manning underwent a spinal fusion surgery to repair a herniated disc in his neck.

This surgery involved removing the damaged disc and fusing two vertebrae together using a metal plate.

The surgery was successful, and Manning returned to the NFL to play for the Denver Broncos for four more seasons.

You may also want to check:

Can You Play Football after A Spinal Fusion?

Whether a player can return to the field after the procedure depends on several factors, such as the extent of the fusion, the individual’s overall health, and their specific doctor’s recommendations.

 In general, contact sports like football are not recommended after spinal fusion surgery.

Some players are advised to retire from the sport once they undergo a procedure to treat the condition.

The fusion creates a weaker spine area, which is more susceptible to injury. Additionally, football’s jarring motions can stress the spine and potentially damage the fusion.

However, physicians gradually introduce physical activity to spinal fusion patients, which includes low-impact exercises and gradually increasing intensity over time. In due time, some NFL players have successfully returned to their sport.

Nikita Waruguru

Nikita Waruguru is a Kenyalogue freelance writer who focuses on TV, celebrity gossip, and pop culture. She's been interested in TV and entertainment from a young age. She wrote her first blog post 10 years ago and has since written more than 3000 news articles, features, and lists. When she's not writing about the latest Netflix reality shows, you can find her binge-watching one or listening to music.

Nikita Waruguruhttp://kenyalogue.com
Nikita Waruguru is a Kenyalogue freelance writer who focuses on TV, celebrity gossip, and pop culture. She's been interested in TV and entertainment from a young age. She wrote her first blog post 10 years ago and has since written more than 3000 news articles, features, and lists. When she's not writing about the latest Netflix reality shows, you can find her binge-watching one or listening to music.
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