A compression fracture during the 2016 season put then Dallas Quarterback, Tony Romo on the sideline.

We have explained a little bit about compression fractures when we learned Carson Wentz suffered a similar injury a few months ago, ending his season with the Philadelphia Eagles.


How common are compression fractures?

If you have back pain, the most common problem is with the discs separating each vertebrae. Discs are the shock absorbers of the spine. Trauma to the spine can cause a number of things to happen and can result in the need for a fusion surgery, or another procedure. Romo himself had a previous disc problem at L4-L5, and went through a procedure to treat a herniated disc on 2013. Compression Fractures are much less common – and aren’t usually related to common football injuries. 

A compression fracture occurs when part of a vertebra (bone in the spine) collapses. A single vertebra has two sections- the vertebral arch, which protects the spinal cord, and the vertebral body. If you have a compression fracture, it means part of the vertebral body has collapsed.

Compression fractures tend to happen in either in the lower portion of the thoracic spine, or the beginning of the lumbar spine. (T10-L2).

Romo is down after collision with Seattle Seahawks player. Troy Wayrynen/USA TODAY Sports

How serious is a compression fracture?

It really depends on each patient. If several vertebra are fractured in a row, you could be dealing with an unstable fracture. Romo fractured the L1 vertebrae after colliding with a Seattle Seahawks defensive player. Although we did not treat Mr. Romo for this injury, we can say this type of injury usually does not require surgery. After a compression fracture heals, there is usually very little to no residual pain.

The vertebrae will eventually heal on it’s own. Romo did return during the 2016 season, but lost his starting position to then rookie, Dak Prescott.


Tony Romo Today

At the end of the season, Romo held a press conference where we told the media he would be stepping aside as the Cowboys starting quarterback. At his request, the team released Romo in April of 2017. He went to work with Jim Nantz at CBS as a lead game analyst.