Sports injury

Sports injuries are injuries that occur during sport, athletic activities, or exercising. In the United States, there are approximately 30 million teenagers and children who participate in some form of organized sport.

About three million athletes age 14 years and under experience a sports injury annually.

About 21 percent of the injuries observed in elite college athletes caused the athlete to miss at least one day of sport, and approximately 77 percent of these injuries involved the knee, lower leg, ankle, or foot.

The leading cause of death related to sports injuries is traumatic head or neck occurrences.

Typical sports injuries include strains, sprains, fractures, dislocations, tendonitis, ligament injuries (such as ACL tears), muscle contusions, and stress fractures. 

Additionally, overuse injuries like tendon injuries and stress fractures are common among athletes. 

Concussions are prevalent in contact sports, and repetitive motion injuries like tennis elbow or runner’s knee can occur as well.

Subacromial impingement syndrome is a shoulder joint injury. 

Baseball players are prone to get subacromial impingement syndrome, as the sport requires an overhead movement of the arms to make a throw. 

Subacromial impingement syndrome injury causes mechanical inflammation in the subacromial space , which is the space above the shoulder’s ball and socket joint and the top most shoulder bone. 

Muscular strength imbalances, poor scapula, and rotator cuff tears are the main causes of subacromial impingement syndrome include muscular strength imbalances, poor scapula, and rotator cuff tears.

The overhead movement of the arms instigates pain in the subacromial impingement syndrome.

Falling on an outstretched arm and pulling on the shoulder, repetitive lifting of heavy loads or overhead movement cause rotator cuff tears.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury: common in skiing, soccer, football, and basketball. 

Immediately after injury acute swelling sets in, knee is destabilized, and bearing weight becomes a difficulty. 

Knee injury in contact sports, and jumping, deceleration, and pivoting in non-contact sports and activities cause anterior cruciate ligament injury.

Collateral Ligament Injury: an injury to a partially flexed knee can damage the medial collateral ligament .

Meniscus injuries: acute or repeated injury to the meniscus causes  difficulty squatting and walking instigates pain.

Patellofemoral pain is knee joint pain affecting the patellofemoral joint, and is a  direct consequence of the kneecap rubbing against the end of the thigh bone.

The force the patellafemoral joint has to sustain as much as five times the body weight when the knee is fully flexed, as when squatting, and three times body weight when the knee flexes to 90 degrees, as when climbing stairs. 

The cartilage that makes up the patellafemoral joint is susceptible to wear and tear. 

Repetitive physical activity such as running can trigger pain. 

Tight hamstrings, tight Achilles tendons, and weak thigh muscles, which are required to stabilize the knee, cause runner’s knee.

Inversion ankle sprain is due to landing on an uneven surface spraining the ankle. 

Swelling, localized pain, difficulty bearing weight, and limping are signs of inversion ankle sprain.

Eversion ankle sprain is an injury related to the ankle turning outward or rotating externally. 

Eversion ankle sprain is pain that worsens with weight bearing.

Female athletes are typically more prone to injuries such as ACL tears: approximately 1.6-fold greater rate of ACL tears per athletic exposure in high school female athletes than males of the same age range.

Intrinsic factors associated with sports injuries are age, weight, body composition, height, lack of flexibility or range of motion, coordination, balance, and endurance. 

Biological factors such as pes planus, pes cavus, and valgus or varus knees that could make certain individuals more subject to injury.

Psychological factors including personal stressors in their home, school, or social life can effect an athlete’s risk of injury. 

Extrinsic risk factors that can effect an athlete’s risk of injury: sport specific protective equipment such as helmet, shoulder pads, mouth guards, shin guards, and whether or not these pieces of equipment are fitted correctly to the individual athlete to ensure that they are each preventing injury as well as possible. 

Other extrinsic factors are the conditions of rain, snow, and maintenance of the floor/field of playing surface.

Prevention helps reduce potential sport injuries.

Better training and better exercises can help prevent the injuries from even happening.

Primary prevention involves the avoidance of injury. 

Secondary prevention involves an early diagnosis and treatment once an injury has occurred. 

The goal of early diagnosis is to ensure that the injury is receiving proper care and recovering correctly, thereby limiting the concern for other medical problems to stem from the initial traumatic event.

Lastly, tertiary prevention is focused on rehabilitation to reduce and correct an existing disability resulting from the traumatic event. 

It is essential to establish participation in warm-ups, stretching, and exercises that focus on main muscle groups commonly used in the sport of interest. 

This decreases the chances for getting muscle cramps, torn muscles, and stress fractures. 

Attempts to identify risks before they occur by reviewing and analyzing training methods, competition schedule, traveling, and past injuries. 

Preseason screenings consist of testing the mobility and the the stability of joints, testing the strength and power of muscles, and also testing breathing patterns to clear the athlete for participation and verify that there is no sign of injury or illness, which would represent a potential medical risk to the athlete.

Preseason screenings often takes into account a nutrition aspect,

maintaining  normal iron levels, blood pressure levels, fluid balance, adequate total energy intake, and normal glycogen levels, which 

 can aid in injury prevention and rehabilitation.

Appropriate calorie intake,carbohydrates, fluids, protein, and vitamins and minerals is important for the overall health of the athlete and limits the risk of injuries.

60 percent of female college athletes are affected by iron deficiency: menstruation, gastrointestinal bleeding, inadequate iron intake from the diet, general fatigue, weakness, among others. 

Iron deficiency can lead to impaired athletic performance and a decline in immune and cognitive function.

Preseason screening with a functional movement screen (FMS), can be used to assess and evaluate movement patterns and asymmetries, which can provide insight into mechanical restrictions and potential risk for injury. 

These fundamental movement patterns provide an observable performance of basic locomotor, manipulative, and stabilizing movements. 

By placing the athlete in extreme positions where weaknesses and imbalances become clear if proper stability and mobility is not functioning correctly.

There are seven fundamental movement patterns analyzed: deep squat, hurdle step, in-line lunge, shoulder mobility, active straight-leg raise, trunk stability push-up, and rotary stability. 

There are approximately 8,000 children treated in EDs each day for sports-related injures.

Worlwide an estimated 1.35 million children suffer a sports-related injury per year, worldwide.

This is why children and adolescents need special attention and care when participating in sports.

Many sports-related injuries are predictable and preventable, and 

exercise-based injury prevention programs has shown to reduce injury rates in sports.

Sport-specific warm-up programs exist have proven effective in reducing injuries of children.

Warm-up programs improves the blood flow in muscles and allows for the muscle temperature to rise which helps to prevent muscle strains or tears.

Providing well fitting equipment for sport like helmets, shin guards, ankle braces, gloves and others to prevent injuries.

Sports that have a higher incidence of contact and collision have the highest rates of injury.

Collisions with the ground, objects, and other players are common in sports.

Unexpected dynamic forces on limbs and joints can cause sports injuries. 

Soccer is the sport leading to most competitive injuries in female college athletes. 

Gymnastics, has the highest injury rate overall. 

Swimming and diving is the sport that has the lowest injury rates.

For collegiate athletics, the estimated cost of sport injuries ranges from $446 million to $1.5 billion per year.

For high school athletics, the yearly estimated cost of sport injuries ranges from $5.4 billion to $19.2 billion.

Medical costs in the United States for sports injury related emergency department visits exceeded $935 million every year.

The levels of anxiety, stress, and depression are elevated following 

sports injuries.

After an injury many athletes develop self-esteem issues, athletic identity crises, and high levels of post-traumatic distress.

Each year in the United States, 3.5 million athletes are injured, impacting an athlete’s ability to train and compete, but also influences their psyche and mental health. 

The external pressure by coaches, teammates, fans, and the media on athletes to endure pain and injury instead of refusing to play when hurt, lead to both physical and mental struggles for the athlete.

The influences of personal and situational factors can directly impact an athlete’s perceptions about their injury. 

Emotional and social support, prioritizing empathy, love, trust, and caring benefits injured athletes psychologically as they recover.

Athletes who were content with the social support they received by their athletic trainers are 87% less likely to report symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Only 10% of college athletes with mental health conditions seek support.

Sports injury types

Achilles tendon rupture

Anterior cruciate ligament injury

Biceps tendon rupture

Boxer’s fracture

Cauliflower ear

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy


Cricket injuries

Deaths in motorsport

Footballer’s ankle

Getting the wind knocked out of you

Golfer’s elbow

Helmet-to-helmet collision

Knee dislocation

Musculoskeletal injury

Otitis externa

Running injuries

Sports-related traumatic brain injury

Surfer’s ear

Swimmer’s itch

Swimming injuries

Tennis elbow

Tennis injuries

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