Isolated Axillary Nerve Injury in an Elite High School American Football Player: A Case Report

Daniel T. Probst, Susan E. Mackinnon, Heidi Prather

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


An elite high school American football athlete sustained a traumatic, isolated, axillary nerve injury. Axillary nerve injuries are uncommon, but serious injuries in American football. With the advent of nerve transfers and grafts, these injuries, if diagnosed in a timely manner, are treatable. This case report discusses the multidisciplinary approach necessary for the diagnosis and treatment of an elite high school American football player who presented with marked deltoid atrophy. The athlete’s injury was diagnosed via electrodiagnostic testing and he underwent a medial triceps nerve to axillary nerve transfer. After appropriate postsurgical therapy, the athlete was able to return to American football the subsequent season and continue performing at an elite level. This case report reviews the evaluation and modern treatment for axillary nerve injuries in the athlete, including nerve transfers, nerve grafts, and return to play.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)550-553
Number of pages4
JournalSports Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019


  • axillary nerve palsy
  • deltoid atrophy
  • nerve transfer


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