My 13-year old son was injured in a wrestling match. The X-ray showed a defect in the spine called a spondylolysis. Did this cause the injury or did the injury cause the defect to form?

This question is a chicken and egg question: which came first? We simply don't know. Studies show an equal number of back injuries in wrestlers with and without X-ray findings.

According to a new study, it's likely that muscle weakness is the real cause of back injuries, back pain, and disability among wrestlers. Strong trunk extensor muscles are needed to tackle, lift, and throw the other wrestler. Any weakness in this area can lead to back pain and back injury.

Specific studies by age haven't been done yet to show what, if any, differences occur in younger versus older wrestlers.