A comparison of head movement during back boarding by motorized spine-board and log-roll techniques


Context. In a patient with a potential cervical spine injury, minimizing or eliminating movement at the head and neck during stabilization and transport is paramount because movement can exacerbate the condition. Any equipment or technique creating less movement will allow for a more effective and safe stabilization of an injured patient, reducing the likelihood of movement and potential secondary injury. Objective: To compare the amount of head movement created during the log-roll and motorized spine-board (MSB) stabilization techniques. Design: A 2-condition, repeated-measures design. Setting: Laboratory. Patients or Other Participants: Thirteen certified athletic trainers, emergency first responders, and emergency medical technicians (6 men, 7 women). Intervention(s): Subjects rotated through 4 positions for the log roll and 2 positions for the MSB. Each subject performed 3 trials while maintaining manual, inline stabilization of the model's head for each condition. Main Outcome Measure(s): Three-dimensional head movement was measured and expressed as degrees of motion. Results: The log roll created significantly more motion in the frontal and transverse planes compared with the MSB (P = .001 for both measures). No significant difference was noted for sagittal-plane motion (P = .028). Conclusions: The MSB created less movement at the head than did the log roll in 2 planes of motion and created slightly more motion in 1 plane, although this difference was not significant. The MSB may provide emergency responders with an appropriate alternative method for stabilizing and transporting a supine injured athlete without requiring a log roll.



Publication Date


Journal Title

Journal of Athletic Training


National Athletic Trainers Association

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