There are an estimated 50 million kids playing competitive youth sports in the U.S. A brachial plexus injury, also known as a stinger or burner, is an injury that commonly occurs in athletes who play sports such as those listed on the right.
A brachial plexus injury is the result of damage to the nerves linking the spine to the shoulder and is often caused by stretching the head away from the arm following a shoulder trauma. It’s important to know when to seek treatment for this injury and when it’s safe for a young athlete to return to play.
- Numbness and/or tingling down the arm
- Decreased strength
- Changes in sensation
These symptoms may be obvious or subtle, lasting a few seconds or a few minutes, and can last much longer in some cases. While symptoms are present, watch for possible signs of a concussion.
What to do if a brachial plexus injury is suspected:
- Do not allow your child to return to play until strength and function on the injured side matches that of the non-injured side.
- If your child experiences pain or limited motion when raising the injured arm over his head or moving his elbow, encourage him to rest.
- If symptoms persist, take your child to his doctor or a pediatric sports medicine physician.