Fractures of the atlas vertebra are generally considered to be innocuous injuries. A review of 35 patients with C1 fractures treated in the Acute Spinal Cord Injury Unit of Shaughnessy Hospital indicated that long-term morbidity is not as low as was previously thought. Thirteen of 23 patients (56%) followed up a minimum of 1 year post-trauma had significant symptoms of scalp dysesthesia, neck pain, and/or neck stiffness. A classification is presented, and the results of treatment modalities used are reviewed. Based on the findings, the simplest orthosis consistent with appropriate treatment of any of the often associated other spine fractures is recommended. Surgery is reserved for late instability or pain.