Jarvis Jones & Spinal Stenosis 101 (1 Viewer)

Shakflinz

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Background:

Back in 2009, when Jarvis Jones was with USC he suffered a stinger, and was later diagnosed with spinal stenosis by the USC medical staff. After getting a second opinion, he transferred over to Georgia, sat out his 2010 season, and went on to finish his final 2 years. As you all know, he's entered the 2013 draft and is considered one of the top prospects this year. However, there are a lot of questions surrounding his injury.

Spinal Stenosis:
The simplest way to explain Spinal Stenosis is as the narrowing of spinal cannal.

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Cervical spinal stenosis is a narrowed region of the spinal vertebrae that puts an unusual amount of pressure on the corresponding spinal nerves or the spinal cord as a whole. The most common areas of compression are in the lower back or the neck. Athletes experience this pressure most often as a tingling, numbness, weakness or loss of coordination in the shoulders, arms, legs or neck. Severe pressure on the spine may cause transient quadriplegia, or a temporary paralysis of both arms and legs. Pain may occur in some instances, but not always. Athletes and sports medicine experts informally refer to these symptoms of cervical stenosis as a stinger or burner.

Read more: Athletes & Cervical Stenosis | LIVESTRONG.COM

As stated in the article above, the compression can be found in the lower back or the neck. The neck (Cervical Spinal Stenosis) is definitely the more threatening of the two, as it can cause paralysis from the neck down in extreme cases. However, this slippage is rare and most people can expect remain active and sometimes undergo surgeries to relieve the stress from the condition.

Spinal Stenosis & Athletes

Things can be a little different for pro athletes, though. These guys are undergoing a lot more stress and are much more prone to trauma than your average Joe. That's where the question marks come in, because athletes will begin to question their quality of life in the future, especially after their first contract is over.

A lot of analysts keep bringing up Marcus McNeill. He was an OT drafted by the Chargers in the 2nd Round of 2006 with the same condition. He went on to starting 82 games for the Chargers before being released last season after suffering a neck injury the previous season. McNeill eventually retired, and it's easy to speculate that his stenosis contributed to his short career.

One thing I'd like to point out is the fact that McNeill was 330lbs. Weight can be a huge factor in the amount of pain that will occur for a person with this condition. Jarvis Jones is 100lbs lighter, which is VERY significant.

Another thing to note is that McNeill was never known as a lifter. Lifting programs (the right ones for his condition) can help strengthen, maintain bone density, and enhance the core in efforts to support the spine much more effectively.

In essence, this is more or less a degenerative condition. The question isn't really on if his condition will affect his play on the field, it's on how long he will want to be on the field before he begins to gain a better understanding of what quality of life to expect after football.

It will be in the hands of our medical staff to determine the severity of his condition, and, if we draft him, put him in the best position to maintain his condition.

I have to say that I remain optimistic. Jones seems determined not to let his condition be a factor as he enters the pros, and it's worth noting that he has not had a single neck injury since his stinger back in 2009.
This kid has already overcome so much adversity, and I have faith that he will continue to do so.
 
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Shakflinz

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Both great articles.

Favorite quote from the second article.
In other words, former Cowboys WR Michael Irvin is remembered for many things, but never as "the player who had spinal stenosis."
When you have the opportunity to draft a "playmaker," you take it.

If we knew we could get a player on the level of a Chris Samuels/Michael Irvin/Sterling Sharpe then there would be no discussion.
 

chameleonknight

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More good news:
“Most of the doctors checked me out and they feel that I’m fine,” Jones said of the NFL evaluation. “I don’t have a contusion or anything like that in it. I’ve only had one accident of having a stinger at USC. I never had any symptoms after that. I played through two years of SEC football, red-shirted, practiced every day and never had any symptoms. I feel like I’m healthy. The doctors feel like I’m healthy, so I’m excited.

Jones battles through spinal stenosis
 

crosswatt

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If Jarvis Jones starts eighty-two games for the Saint's, I'm fairly confident at least two of those will be for the Lombardi Trophy.
 

CitySaint

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I've really had to re-think my position. There is no way 14 teams will pass on him if he is even semi-cleared. If they all pass on him and all of those doctors say do not draft him then his spinal issues are serious. The guy has been so good that multiple teams would draft him even with the slightest chance.
 

jimrip

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From what I understand, it is not an "either/or" situation.. there are varying degrees of the narrowing. In Jarvis' case it is so minor they almost missed it.
 
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Shakflinz

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I've really had to re-think my position. There is no way 14 teams will pass on him if he is even semi-cleared. If they all pass on him and all of those doctors say do not draft him then his spinal issues are serious. The guy has been so good that multiple teams would draft him even with the slightest chance.

Have to consider the fact that not all 14 teams would even consider him if he was completely healthy because they have other holes to fill. Doctors are known for having completely different opinions in these kinds of cases, so that's all it takes.

Off topic, but could attribute to his slide.. Jones is not really a work out freak. Don't be surprised when he doesn't blow away everyone at his pro day, and I think it's fair to assume that was part of his reasoning for not participating in combine drills. At this point in the process I would much rather get drilled for a medical condition that can be privately examined by teams interested in me than the negative cloud that surrounds subpar combine numbers when you've got work out freaks like Ansah, Mingo, and Jordan participating.
 

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