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What kids should know about spinal injuries in sports

It could be a hard tackle in football, a cross-check in ice hockey or a fall off the top of a cheerleading pyramid.

A new push is under way to raise awareness of a little-understood but dangerous risk to young athletes: injuries to the cervical spine, the highly vulnerable area between the first and seventh vertebrae that protects the spinal cord connecting the brain to the body. Players and teammates may not instantly recognize the severity of the damage, and the wrong move can damage or sever the spinal cord, resulting in paralysis or even death.

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