Sports injury

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Player getting ankle taped at a football game in Mexico
A Tennis injury
Tackles like this one in Women's Australian rules football can cause injuries.
Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabres suffers an ankle sprain.

Sports injuries are injuries that occur in athletic activities. They can result from acute trauma, or from overuse of a particular body part.


Traumatic injuries account for most injuries in contact sports such as Ice Hockey, Association football, rugby league, rugby union, Australian rules football, Gaelic football and American football because of the dynamic and high collision nature of these sports.[citation needed] Collisions with the ground, objects, and other players are common, and unexpected dynamic forces on limbs and joints can cause injury.

Traumatic injuries can include:

  • Contusion or bruise - damage to small blood vessels which causes bleeding within the tissues.
  • Strain - trauma to a muscle due to overstretching and tearing of muscle fibers

In sports medicine, a catastrophic injury is defined as severe trauma to the human head, spine, or brain.

Concussions in sport became a major issue in the United States in the 2000s, as evidence connected repeated concussions and subconcussive hits with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and increased suicide risk.CTE is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in people with a history of repetitive brain trauma, including symptomatic concussions as well as subconcussive hits to the head that do not cause symptoms. <BTE Center> It is most pronounced in football, and a related ailment (dementia pugilistica) afflicts boxers, but is also seen in other sports, and in females and adolescents.

Overuse and repetitive stress injury problems associated with sports include:

Some activities have particular risks; see:

Further information: Category:Overuse injuries

Sports medicine[edit]

Main article: Sports medicine

Injuries are a common occurrence in professional sports and most teams have a staff of athletic trainers and close connections to the medical community. Many retain team physicians.

Controversy has arisen at times when teams have made decisions that could threaten a players long-term health for short term gain.

Soft tissue injuries[edit]

Main article: Soft tissue injury

When soft tissue experiences trauma, the dead and damaged cells release chemicals, which initiate an inflammatory response. Inflammation is characterized by pain, localized swelling, heat, redness and a loss of function. Small blood vessels are damaged and opened up, producing bleeding within the tissue. In the body's normal reaction, a small blood clot is formed in order to stop this bleeding and from this clot special cells (called fibroblasts) begin the healing process by laying down scar tissue.

The inflammatory stage is therefore the first phase of healing. However, too much of an inflammatory response in the early stage can mean that the healing process takes longer and a return to activity is delayed.[citation needed] Sports injury treatments are intended to minimize the inflammatory phase of an injury, so that the overall healing process is accelerated. Intrinsic and extrinsic factors are determinant for the healing process.[1]

Further information: Healing


A warm-up program has been founded to decrease injuries in association football.[2] Many athletes will partake in HGH Treatment for Athletic Enhancement as a way to prevent injuries.[dubious ]

Risk of injury can be reduced by completing an effective warm up consisting of a heart raiser to get your pulse up, followed by sport specific dynamic stretches (stretches whilst moving).

Sports-Related Emotional Stress

The pressure to win can cause significant emotional stress for a child. Sadly, many coaches and parents consider winning the most important aspect of sports. Young athletes should be judged on effort, sportsmanship and hard work. They should be rewarded for trying hard and for improving their skills rather than punished or criticized for losing a game or competition.

Using proper equipment is key in preventing injury.[3] The NFL is conducting tests with new helmet designs that could reduce the number of head injuries in the league.[4]

Doctors believe fatigue can be a contributing factor in sports injuries because it is more difficult for the body to protect itself when fatigued. Stopping an activity at the first sign of fatigue can prevent sports related injuries.[5]


Sports injuries can be treated and managed by using the P.R.I.C.E.S... DR. ABC, and T.O.T.A.P.S regimes:

P – Protect
R – Rest
I – Ice
C – Compression
E – Elevation
S - Stabilize
D – Danger
R – Response
A – Airway
B – Breathing
C – Circulation
T – Talk
O – Observe
T – Touch
A – Active movement
P – Passive movement
S – Skills test

The primary inflammatory stage typically lasts around 5 days and all treatment during this time is designed to address the cardinal signs of inflammation – pain, swelling, redness, heat and a loss of function.

Compression sportswear is becoming very popular with both professional and amateur athletes. These garments are thought to both reduce the risk of muscle injury and speed up muscle recovery.

Portable Mild Hyperbaric Chamber 40" diameter

Although not proven some professional athletes use hyperbaric chambers to speed healing. Hines Ward of the Steelers sent his personal hyperbaric chamber (similar to the one pictured) to his hotel to sleep in believing it would help heal his sprained medial collateral ligament he suffered in their playoff win against the Ravens. Hines went on to play in Super Bowl XLIII.


Neuromuscular Re-Education

What happens to a joint and the musculoskeletal system after a sports injury? We all have motor receptors that provides us with a static awareness of joint position, awareness/detection of movement and acceleration; starting the reflex response process and regulating muscle contraction and co-contractions. This is all done through mechanoreceptors located in our joints and ligaments. It is these structures that play an intricate part in the neural network that provides us with mechanical stability. After an injury, many things begin to happen as a result. Among the most common are pain, swelling, weakness, fatigue, atrophy and joint stiffness. What can get overlooked are the negative effects to our motor receptors and their ability to work efficiently. All of these deficits can create proprioceptive deficits and lead to mechanical instabilities and muscle imbalances. It is these deficits that can lead to secondary injuries and predispose us to future problems. The Purpose of Rehabilitative Therapy such as Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Hand Therapy is to assist and guide patients toward a functional recovery. The goal is to restore range of motion, muscle strength and endurance, reduce pain and swelling, while increasing and restoring the proprioceptive system.

Many sports injuries, although result from some kind of trauma, have an underlying origin. Many young athletes will have joint instability yielding joint hypermobility. When a joint is hypermobile and doesn't sit stable in its joint socket, it is more susceptible to injury from an external force. When an unstable joint receives an external force it is not prepared to receive, it is unable to self correct. The impact can result in sprains-strains, dislocations and sometimes ruptures of major ligaments. Using a neuromuscular approach, the athlete goes through a gradual strength training program eventually leading to more advanced and challenging exercises. Proprioception is ones awareness in space. Like when a gymnast knows where they are on a balance beam without looking, our joints also have proprioception awareness related to how they are positioned in the body and where they sit when the position changes. The goal of a fully rehabilitated athlete is to restore complete proprioceptive awareness before returning to the sport. Neuromuscular Re-education increases our proprioceptive response time while creating greater kinesthetic awareness and joint stability at the same time. This is the foundation for peak performance in the athletic individual and keeping them healthy in their careers.

The means by which Neuromuscular Re-education is performed is through strengthening the body's muscular-skeletal system while simultaneously challenging the proprioceptive system using unstable environments all during the strength training process.

An example of an advanced NMR exercise for a knee or shoulder injury would be performing a single leg squat, on a bosu ball, return to upright and perform an overhead shoulder press with resistance bands.

The goal here is to train the whole system not just one affected muscle or group. By performing strength training on unstable surfaces, challenging the proprioceptive system, greater kinesthetic awareness is achieved and the communication-response time within those mechanoreceptors are dramatically improved. This in turn creates a greater and faster recovery to play and greatly reduces risk of re-injury.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 'Intrinsic and Extrinsic Risk Factors for Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury in Australian Footballers' by John Orchard, Hugh Seward, Jeanne McGivern and Simon Hood
  2. ^ Soligard T, Myklebust G, Steffen K, et al. (2008). "Comprehensive warm-up programme to prevent injuries in young female footballers: cluster randomised controlled trial". BMJ 337: a2469. doi:10.1136/bmj.a2469. PMC 2600961. PMID 19066253. 
  3. ^ "How to Prevent Sports Injuries". Retrieved 2010-11-27. 
  4. ^ #{author_name} (2010-02-26). "Preventing head injuries chief concern at NFLPA's safety summit". Retrieved 2010-11-27. 
  5. ^ "How to prevent and treat the seven most common sports injuries". 2010-11-17. Retrieved 2010-11-27. 

Further reading[edit]

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