This case report discusses a 16-year-old female volleyball, basketball, and track and field athlete who was diagnosed with a Chiari I malformation after a concussion. Surgical decompression was recommended and performed 3 months after her initial diagnosis. This patient presented unique challenges due to her age, desire to return to sport, and lack of access to medical care due to living in a rural area. Few evidence-based best-practice recommendations are available for the management and return to sport of patients with Chiari I malformation, particularly for those who have undergone surgical decompression. In this case study, we address the treatment and return-to-sport process for the patient and provide a comprehensive review of the published literature on patients attempting to return to sport after a diagnosis of Chiari I malformation. In addition, we explore the value of an athletic trainer in reconciling various barriers in management and return to sport evident in this case and the reviewed literature.
- congenital deformity
- return to play