In the winter of seventh grade, football player Vinnie Manetti of Bear, Del., was diagnosed with a bilateral fracture in his lower back. But he had endured back pain for the entire previous season and had progressively limited his participation in the activities he loved. Like many athletes, Vinnie admitted that he “played through the pain,” and it wasn’t until he fractured his spine a second time that he was sent to the Center for Sports Medicine at Nemours Children’s Hospital, Delaware
Poor flexibility was a major contributor to Vinnie’s injury because excessive strain was then being re-directed to his back. A pediatric sports medicine specialist reviewed the implications of his injury and ways to avoid future injury. Armed with physical therapy goals, with an emphasis on exercises to improve flexibility, Vinnie was able to complete his therapy plan both at home and at the Center for Sports Medicine.
Upward and Onward
As a sophomore, Vinnie is now playing varsity football at his high school. His physical therapist has taught him ways to modify the off-season workouts that his teammates do in order to work hard but limit the stress on his back. He continues to regularly perform his stretching exercises to prevent injury recurrence. Vinnie says, “I still go to the Center for Sports Medicine for other injuries, but they always get me back to the game, fast and healthy.”