Football players, hockey players, soccer players, runners, swimmers, and all other types of athletes utilize every part of their body for their sport. The contact sports are associated with a lot more injuries, but in every sport there is a risk.
Whether it’s throwing your body into another player or pushing your body to its max to cross a finish line first, athletes train their bodies to reach its full potential – but accidents happen and athlete’s facing injury is a risk that shouldn’t be taken lightly by athletes, coaches, medical professionals, sports organizations, or fans.The Truth about Athlete Injury Prevention and Treatment #sportsbiz Click To Tweet
Head Injury Dangers
One of the most talked about and dangerous aspects of athlete injuries is the risk of traumatic brain injury that most commonly affects boxers and football players, but has the risk of affecting many other athletes as well.
The 2015 film Concussion discusses chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and how it’s affected NFL players specifically. The film is set in 2002 when a forensic pathologist, Dr. Bennet Omalu, discovers that many deceased football players are affected by complications associated with head injury and the NFL ignoring his research.
Those with CTE have symptoms that include disorientation, memory loss, erratic behavior, progressive dementia, tremors, vertigo, and suicidality. Any head injury is an extremely serious condition, one that is finally starting to gain attention and force athletes to reconsider their desires for long sports careers.
Multiple NFL players have retired early for fear of concussions and their long-term effects to their well-being.
Changing the Culture
There used to be a culture of athletes playing through pain and maintaining a singular focus on winning.
Fortunately, the knowledge we have on concussions has greatly changed the attitude about head injuries on the field. Some sports organizations, schools, and cities have enacted rules about taking athletes out of competition if there is a suspected concussion or head injury.
The culture of injury in general, including the seriousness of common football injuries, a focus on prevention, and the appropriate treatment of injuries has changed drastically. The truth about athlete injuries used to be about acknowledging the risk and doing what it takes to win, now it’s about keeping athlete’s safety and health a priority over winning.
On the sideline of virtually every sporting event from hometown soccer games to Olympic swimming competitions, there is a sports medicine professional of some kind. Many coaches are trained in recognizing, treating, and preventing sports injuries in their players. Education about sports injuries by those on the sidelines, taking care of athletes early on in their careers, and pushing a focus on health and safety over gameplay is vitally important to teaching young athletes how dangerous many sports can be on the body.
Fortunately, the sports doctors taking care of athletes are finding out more information every year on treating and preventing injuries. Sports doctors now understand the delay in injury with concussions, how to teach safe tactics in athlete training, and how long to keep an athlete from playing in order for them to recover appropriately.
In the NFL, there are doctors watching at all times – ready to take players off the field if they witness a hit that may have hurt a player.
Prevention and Treatment
Prevention is the key to making the truth about sports injuries a very real risk, but one we can work to reduce.
Heads Up Football is one example education and injury prevention. It’s a program offering education programs for coaches of youth and high school football programs. It teaches players proper tackling techniques and injury awareness. There are also regulations for sports equipment in any organized event which are designed to keep players safe. Helmets, mouth guards, cleats, shoes, balls, pads, and uniforms are all created with safety in mind in order to prevent injury.
Injury treatment has also come a long way and players have strict requirements on how to treat an injury in competition and when they are able to return to the event – if at all.
Understanding why injuries happen and which ones happen often is useful in treating the injuries that happen to athletes. Sports organizations have come a long way from the culture of playing through pain to a focus on health for players and treating injuries appropriately.
There are many ongoing rule changes created in order to keep athletes safe. For instance, chop blocking is now illegal in the NFL – a rule that is long overdue.
In U.S. soccer, there are rules regarding heading in certain age groups to prevent head injury. In the NHL, there are more rules outlawing hits to the head. The list goes on and on for rule changes happening in baseball, basketball, Olympic sports, track sports, and sports on many levels from high school to professional sports.
Being an athlete may not be the safest activity available, but there are many aspects at play working to reduce concussions and head injuries and changing the harmful culture surrounding injury. In fact, instead of coaches deciding when a player can return to the field after an injury, in many instances, a 3rd party doctor or trainer is tasked with the decision of whether or not a player is healthy enough to return.
Prevention and treatment are important aspects to each sport and how to make it a safe place for players all around. With new rule changes each year focusing on safety in so many sports, it’s clear that there are steps being taken to make the truth of athlete injury treatment and prevention one that is making progress and creating a safe environment for athletes.