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Whiplash From Football: Critical Treatment Information

football player

Football triggers many types of injuries and tissue damage in players at all skill levels, including high school performance levels. Whiplash is one type of injury that can be painful to high school athletes. Therefore, parents of high school football players need to understand this injury and how to manage its occurrence with urgent care treatment.

Quick Tackles Can Cause Whiplash

High school running backs, receivers, and quarterbacks experience regular massive tackles during football games. These tackles may not be as hard as those experienced by college or professional athletes, but each hit can be damaging to their bodies. For example, Rush University Medical Center states that whiplash can occur in an individual with force as low as five to 10 miles per hour.


Though tackles aren’t measured in terms of miles per hour, the raw force of the average tackle likely exceeds that speed. And while a football player’s pads and helmet will absorb much of that force, a player’s neck is relatively unprotected. Unfortunately, the impact of a tackle could cause the neck to jerk back and forth with more than enough power to trigger whiplash.

Complications Are Rare but Troubling 

In most cases, football players who experience whiplash don’t experience severe complications. However, some whiplash injuries do worsen and cause more severe pain. For example, Healthline reports that whiplash may trigger chronic neck pain for years after the initial injury. Other injured football players may get severe headaches that come and go over several years.

These whiplash complications typically occur when the tissue damage is paired with problems such as damaged joints, disks, or ligaments in the neck. Unfortunately, this type of pain may trigger depression and anxiety in certain individuals.

All of these issues can complicate a football player’s ability to compete at a high level. Chronic neck pain may cause them to quit or limit their play time, while depression and anxiety may keep them from playing. Unfortunately, these problems can worsen if the injured football player waits too long to get care.

Immediate Care Is Critical for Whiplash 

Immediate care is necessary the moment a football player experiences whiplash on the field. Quick care helps to minimize the severity of the tissue damage and provides football players with the best chance of recovery.

Just as importantly, immediate urgent care treatment prevents complications, such as headaches and anxiety, by preventing chronic whiplash. As a result, urgent care may help football players get back to practice and competition more quickly than if they waited for the tissue to heal on its own.

Urgent Care Treatment Methods Will Vary

Urgent care centers provide a multitude of possible treatment options for whiplash. For example, NHS states that immediate care for whiplash includes ice packs, warm compresses, and pain-management equipment such as braces for the back or a posture pillow. Painkillers, including ibuprofen, may also be used immediately after the injury to help manage tissue damage pain.

Urgent care centers can also provide physiotherapy treatments as needed to manage the spread of pain and tissue damage. For example, these professionals can use neck exercises and massages to decrease pain severity. Just as importantly, physiotherapy treatments can strengthen the muscles and tendons throughout the neck to minimize future whiplash.

Help Is Available for These Problems

Football players who experience whiplash should get quick treatment and care to get back into the game as soon as possible. Therefore, parents of a teenage football player with whiplash (or anyone who feels they may have whiplash) should contact Premier Urgent Care Centers of California, Inc., right away to get high-quality help. Quick and effective treatment will minimize the potential of dangerous complications.


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