A stinger is a traction or compression injury to the nerves in the neck and shoulder. Symptoms include:
- Sudden burning and numbness of lateral arm, thumb and/or index finger
- Weakness of shoulder, arm and wrist muscles
- Rarely lasts longer than one to two minutes
Stinger management steps:
- Ask about localized neck pain or stiffness.
- Ask if the athlete is afraid to move his head.
- Check if there is numbness in both arms.
- If any of the above occur or there is any doubt, immobilize the athlete and call 911.
If this is the athlete’s first stinger of the season, he can return to play if he meets the criteria below. If this is his second stinger of the season, or third or more in separate seasons, he should sit out until he is cleared by a sports medicine physician. For recurrent stingers, athletes should consider a neck roll, or "cowboy collar."
To be cleared to play, the athlete:
- Must have no pain
- Must have no numbness
- Must have no weakness
- Must have full, active range of motion in neck