Sports and Pediatric Cerebrospinal Fluid Shunts: Who Can Play?

Academic Article


  • OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to collect and review available data on the incidence of sport-related complications in children with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) shunts. METHODS: After review of medical and legal literature revealed no reports on sports and shunts, an Internet-based survey was conducted of pediatric neurosurgeons. Observed complications, recommendations for sport participation, and shunt volume data were collected. RESULTS: Ninety-two providers (55% sample) responded. Seventy-seven percent had never observed a sport-related shunt complication in their practice. The remaining 23% witnessed an estimated total of 25 to 30 complications. Broken shunt catheters and shunt dysfunction were the most common complications observed. Only one acute intracranial hematoma was reported in the entire series. The incidence of sport-related CSF complications in children seems to be significantly less than 1%. Ninety percent of pediatric neurosurgeons do not restrict their patients' participation in noncontact sports. For contact sports, approximately one-third of neurosurgeons preclude all participation, whereas another third restrict specific sports. The final third of neurosurgeons surveyed do not restrict participation in contact sports for children with CSF shunts. CONCLUSION: Sport-related complications in children with CSF shunts are very uncommon.
  • Published In

  • Neurosurgery  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Blount JP; Severson M; Atkins V; Tubbs RS; Smyth MD; Wellons JC; Grabb PA; Oakes WJ; McComb JG; Bailes JE
  • Start Page

  • 1190
  • End Page

  • 1198
  • Volume

  • 54
  • Issue

  • 5