Meaning and Prevention of Sports Injury


Meaning and Prevention of Sports Injury

Meaning of Sports Injury

Have you ever played a game and may be incurred an injury while on the game? Can you remember how it occurred and how painful it was? That was a sports injury. Sports injuries are accidents that take place as you perform physical activities that are involved in sports.

Sports injury may be defined as an injury that occurs during sporting activity or exercise. It includes injuries affecting participation in sports and exercise, which affects athletes of all ages and all levels of performance. Sports injuries affect everybody involved in sports and exercise business ranging from field players to club owners.

Sports injuries can occur as a result of over training, lack of proper conditioning, improper form or techniques. Failing to warm up, increases the risk of sports injuries.

From this, it clear that sports injuries is preventable. It is, therefore, important that you become familiar with the types, care, prevention and risks of these injuries. If an athlete cuts his finger with knife while preparing his breakfast, is it a sports injury? The answer is, no! because Benson, (1995) mention the following as criteria for defining sports injury:

• It occurs as a result of participation in an organized “sport” practice or game.

• It requires medical attention by a team of athletic trainers or physician.

• It results in restriction of the athlete’s participation or performance for one or more days beyond the day of injury.

This may not be a good factor in defining injury because accident that keeps a player, for instance, in a soccer game, away for one or few minutes can mean a loss for his team. Hence, Pfeiffer and Mangus (2012) mentioned several qualifiers for defining sports injury.

They mentioned the type of tissue(s) involved, injury location and time frame or the “on set” of the injury which may be acute or chronic. Knowing that sports injury can make a player or team loose in a competition, is it not better to prevent it from occurring if possible? There is a group of professionals from different but related disciplines, called athletic health care or sports medicine team, who are involved in caring for the athlete. They work hard to prevent injuries; where they occur, they care for them. Flegel (2008) mentioned the following as members of an athletic health care team (AHCT):

a. Athletes

b. Parents (in a school setting) coaches

c. Emergency medical technicians

d. Doctors

e. Athletic trainers

f. Physical therapist.

Added sports massage practitioners, sports psychologist, exercise physiologists and, in school settings, school nurses. Although each member of the AHCT is important, three are very essential and they are – coach, team physician or doctor and athletic trainer. The coach may not be recognized as expert in sports injury, but he is very critical in the process of injury prevention.

For Example

At the end of your study in Human Kinetics, a University sports or sports medicine clinic employs you alongside three physical therapists. Your employment was the first effort by the clinic to employ professional trained in human Kinetics. The three physical therapists appear to be uncertain concerning your role in helping the clinic function well. What will be the difference in your role when working in the University sports and in the clinic?

Let us see some of the role of a coach in the prevention of injury during sports events.

• The coach properly plans the activity. He teaches the skills of the sports in the correct progression and considers each athletes development level and current physical condition to prevent injury during practice or game.

• He provides proper instruction. The coach keeps the athletes in proper condition to participate in sports by teaching them the rules and correct skills and strategies of the sports, and teaching them conditioning exercise in a progression so that the athletes are adequately prepared to handle more difficult skills or exercise without injury.

• The coach warns athletes and parents about inherent risks of their particular sports. He also warns the athletes about potentially harmful conditions, such as, conditions of the playing area or environment, dangerous or faulty equipment among others.

• He provides safe physical environment, and adequate and proper equipment. To ensure that the physical environment is safe, he periodically inspects the playing area, changing or locker rooms and removes any hazards. He also prevents improper and unsupervised use of facilities. He also inspects the equipment regularly and teaches athletes how to fit, use and inspect their equipment.

• The coach supervises all activities closely and provides appropriate emergency assistant, which includes first aid. He does not allow players to engage in rough or potentially dangerous plays during training or perform dangerous skills without supervision.


Protective Gadgets

Protective gadgets or equipment play a vital role in the prevention of injuries. It is important we discuss this because of the nature of sports activities which regularly exposes the athlete to injury. This is especially the case with some sports, common in your area are – hockey, cycling, boxing, cricket and soccer. However, virtually all sport can benefit from the use of one or more safety gadgets. The coach should ensure that the required protective equipment is adequately available and proper for the athletes to use. It is important that he has working knowledge of how to fit these equipment.

The Three (3) Protective Equipment used in Sports

1. Helmets:


The helmet protects the player from blows to the head. The blow may come from the stick or a puck. The player may run into the boards or hit the head on the ground/field. If these blows are not guarded against, the effect of the impact may be very damaging to the head. Hence, it is important for all hockey and American football players to wear approved protective helmets,

 How to fit the Helmet

Every manufacturer of helmet will necessarily provide warnings and guidelines on how to fit the helmet.

The following general guidelines:

• Check the sizing chart if available to select an appropriate size for your head or use a soft tape measure to determine the size of helmet you need.

• Put the helmet on with the chin strap attached to both sides of the helmet. Make sure that the chin strap fits properly and it is not pinching you.

• Check the ear holes to see that the holes line up properly with the ear. This will ensure that you can hear properly.

• Make sure that the back part of the skull is properly covered and the front of the helmet rests an inch above the eye brows.

• Twist the helmet to see that there is limited side-to-side movement. Also push down on the top of the helmet to see that there is adequate but limited movement downward. Any of these movements should move the skin slightly, but if you feel any abnormal pain, discomfort or pressure during these movements, repeat the steps in these guidelines.

• After fitting the helmet, make sure you are seeing very well and that the head and neck are moving without restriction.

A youth organization owner is worried about the high rate of injury among members of the organization during sports. This development has resulted in loosing competition and spending much money in paying hospital bills for players. The organization decides to employ you. What actions will you take to prevent these injuries?

 2. Mouth Guards

Mouth Guards

Mouth guards prevent dental or tooth injuries. They also help protect against blows to the mouth by preventing the jaw from going into the skull. When it is properly fitted, it serves to minimize tearing of the lips and checks and fractures to the jaw bone. The mouth protector should give the athlete proper and tight fit, comfort, unrestricted breathing and unimpeded speech during the game


Types of Mouth Guard

There are three types of mouth guard, which are generally used in sports for injury prevention. They are:

• The stock variety.

• Commercial mouth guard – which can be purchased from local sporting stores. It is formed after submersion in boiling water. It is fitted into the athlete’s mouth while it is hot. It is heat moldable, it is commonly called dip and bite mouth guard. This is because when the mouth guard is put in the athletes mouth, you ask him to bite down, and hold the biting position until the mouth guard starts to regain firmness.

• Custom-fabricated type, which is formed over a mold made from an impression of the athletes maxillary arch. You need your team dentist or your personal dentist for a custom-made mouth guard. It gives greater protection and comfort but it is very expensive.

 3. Shin Guards

Shin Guards

The shin guards are used in soccer and hockey to cover the lower extremity. They come in different sizes for adults and junior players. So choose the size that is proper for you and fit it properly.

At this point, you are familiar with the scope and definition of sports injury. As you went through this work, you learnt some of the things you need to do to prevent sports injury. When sports injuries are prevented, the player will have more opportunities to develop their potentials.

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