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How Can Athletes Prevent Sports Injuries?

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How Can Athletes Prevent Sports Injuries?

3 min read


Sport-related injuries are unpredictable and can be avoided by following utmost precautions. This article enlightens on prevention of sports injuries.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Raveendran S R

Published At July 27, 2021
Reviewed AtOctober 5, 2023


Involving in sports and other physical activities is essential as it enhances health and makes the person physically fit, thereby increasing the individual's longevity. However, sports-related injuries are common, especially in young adults, which impact their day-to-day activities, pose a significant risk in future participation in sports activities, with serious injuries even affecting their quality of life.

Prevalence of Sports Injuries:

Sports injuries are highly prevalent in young adults and are also the primary cause of injuries in youth. In school children, it has been estimated that about 20% of children miss school due to sports injuries. Also, approximately one in every three working individuals make themselves absent from work due to a sports injury. Of all the sports injuries, injuries of the lower extremities account for more than half of all other sports injuries, with knee and ankle injury occupying 60% of it. Sports injuries also place a massive burden on the economic aspect.

Significance of Sports Injury Prevention:

About one-third of young adolescents worldwide have been predicted to be obese. In addition, with increasing sports injuries, surveys have reported that about 8% of people drop out of sports due to fear of injury. As a result, obesity and post-traumatic osteoarthritis incidence will continue to rise, thereby affecting the physical health of the younger generation. Sports injuries have an effect on the quality of life by weakening the knee muscles, increasing adiposity, and imposing structural changes and dynamic imbalance. Therefore, to maintain an active and healthy population, it is essential to engage in sports activities in such a way that the benefits outweigh the risks.

Quintessential Approach To Prevent Sports Injuries:

  • Proper Communication With the Trainer or Coach:

The athletes or the sportsperson should interact with their trainer and let them know about any pain or discomfort experienced. It is advisable not to continue with the sporting activities by withstanding it, which might further increase the damage and lead to chronic conditions.

  • Cross-Training and Playing Multiple Sports:

Involving in a particular sport and athletic training for a specific sport for a long time over pressurizes the particular muscles and nerves. As a result, the muscles and nerves are damaged, making them more prone to injuries.

  • Emphasize the Need for Warm-ups:

Stretching the muscles is an essential prophylactic technique for athletes and sportspersons to prevent them from sports injuries. Sportspersons and athletes should habitualize the act of warm-up prior to any sports activity. Stretching is basically of two types: static and dynamic, which help relax the muscles and prepare them for doing sports activities. Of the two types, static stretching includes toe touch and stretches in which you stay in the position for some time. Dynamic stretching is when the body is under motion during extension, like jumping jacks and stretching.

  • Stress Hydration:

Heat-related infirmity is a problem that needs attention in athletes and sportspersons who experience excessive fluid loss. Therefore, it is very much required to maintain the balance of body fluids, especially those playing in hot and humid areas where the fluid loss is even higher. Also, parents and coaches should note any signs of dehydration like nausea, vomiting, fatigue, fainting, or confusion.

  • Getting a Preliminary Physical Test:

Before engaging in any sports activity, the athletes and sportspersons should make it mandatory to have a preseason test to avoid any severe injuries. Any previous injury or health condition should be evaluated prior to any sports event to avoid its accentuation and treat the disease to prevent further worsening.

  • Taking Adequate Rest:

It is essential to get adequate rest to prevent muscle fatigue and any type of injury. Overusing the muscle makes it more prone to injuries, thereby perpetuating the condition. Muscle overuse injuries are reported to be one of the leading reasons for sports injuries. Sportspeople should take an offseason after a sporting event and engage in relaxing activities and recuperate themselves for future events.

  • Consuming a Healthy and Balanced Diet:

Athletes should make sure they practice healthy eating habits like having meals around the same time each day and consuming more fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. Furthermore, in sports that involve weight-gaining like wrestling, coaches and parents should ensure that the athletes follow healthy eating habits.

  • Using Proper Protective Equipment:

Sporting individuals should wear adequate protective equipment like helmets, pads, and shoes to avoid injuries. Also, organizations conducting sports events should make it mandatory for all participants to wear this equipment. Further, they can also sponsor this equipment thereby ensuring uniformity, standard, and prophylactic measures.

  • Following Correct Technique and Guidelines:

Every game has a set of rules and guidelines to be followed, sticking to which can avoid injuries. For example, in sports that include tackling opponents like hockey, football, etc., emphasis should be made to follow the guidelines. Even a single act can result in sports injury, so adequate care should be taken.

  • Recognizing and Getting Treated Early:

Sportspersons should never withstand an injury to continue playing, which itself can lead to severe conditions. Therefore, they must report the damage at an early stage to prevent further consequences. Also, parents and trainers should note the changes in the style and activities of the athletes, like a limp while running, different actions for throwing, etc., and pull them out to avoid any more damage.

When Should You See a Doctor for a Sports Injury?

Despite all these preventive measures, if you are injured, it is recommended to seek the doctor's help in the following situations:

  • Unsubsiding pain even with rest.

  • New, persistent swelling in the prone area.

  • Frequent loss of stability.

  • Persistent pain.

  • Painful crunching sound.

Frequently Asked Questions


What Measures Can Athletes Take To Prevent Injuries?

There are several measures that athletes can take to prevent injuries. A few of them include the following -
- They should incorporate a good fitness plan which involves a combination of strength training, cardiovascular exercises, and flexibility exercise. 
- Hydration also plays an important role in keeping the muscles healthy and preventing spasms. 
- Athletes should also incorporate the use of protective gear to prevent injuries. 
- Giving adequate rest to the body in constant intervals also helps protect the muscles from any excess strain.


What Should People Do to Manage Sports Injuries?

The management of sport-related injured depends on the kind of injury. Major injuries are managed in hospitals, whereas minor injuries, like muscle spasms and sprains, can be managed at home by following PRICE therapy. It includes - 
P - Stands for protection and involves protecting the affected region from further injury.
R - Stands for rest and implies that adequate rest should be given to the affected part for recovery. 
I - Stand for ice packs and they help in decreasing the pain. They should be applied for 15 to 20 minutes, every 3 to 4 hours.  
C - Refers to compression. Compressing the affected area with bandages for instance helps prevent or minimize swelling.
E - Stands for elevation. The affected part should be elevated, above the level of the heart as this also helps in reducing swelling.


What Is the Importance of Sports Injury Prevention and Management?

The prevention and management of sports injury is very important as they not only help sportsmen to prevent serious complications associated with injuries but also help them achieve their goals and train in a healthy manner. Sports injuries can often hamper the quality of life, hence preventing and managing them aptly is highly beneficial.


Why Are Recovery and Rehabilitation Important for People Playing Sports?

Recovery and rehabilitation are extremely crucial for sportsmen as they allow their bodies to rest, recover and function optimally. Sportsmen often undergo a lot of stress, physically and mentally. Resting adequately, especially following an injury helps prevent further complications.


What Is the Importance of Injury and Violence Prevention?

The prevention of injuries and violence plays a crucial role as injuries are a primary source of impairment for people of all ages and the major cause of death for many people. Both unintended injuries and injuries brought on by violent acts can frequently be avoided or predicted. They impact health negatively and contribute to early death, resulting in years of potential life wasted, high medical expenditures, lost productivity, and poor mental health.


Why Are Sports Important and What Benefits Do They Provide?

Considered a recreational activity, sports are very important and have various benefits. They not only act as stress busters but also help improve cognitive function and improve the longevity of people. They also help keep body weight, blood sugar, and blood pressure levels in check, thereby preventing diseases, such as hypertension, heart failure, stroke, diabetes, etc. Playing sports also helps improve interpersonal relationships, especially if people get involved in group activities.


Following an Injury, When Should Sportsmen Consult a Doctor?

Following an injury, sportsmen should visit a doctor under the following circumstances - 
- When symptoms do not go away after rest or home remedies. 
- When swelling does not decrease after a certain period of time.
- When there are signs of broken bones. 
- When there is profuse bleeding that does not stop. 
- When they cannot move their arm, leg, or joint comfortably. 
- When the disease or infection can spread to other team members and families of the sportsmen.


Following an Injury, Sportsmen Should Visit Which Doctor?

After an injury, sportsmen can visit either a general physician or a sports medicine physician. 
A sports medicine physician is a doctor that specializes in the prevention and treatment of illness and injuries associated with various sports and their training. Both, an orthopedics surgeon and a sports medicine physician can help sportsmen with their musculoskeletal injuries with the only difference being that orthopedic surgeons are also trained for the surgical treatment of such injuries, whereas a sports medicine physician is not.


What Are the Consequences When an Injury Goes Untreated?

Leaving injuries as it is and not treating them can result in several unwanted complications. For instance, fractures if not treated, can lead to disability, amputation, and the spread of infection to the rest of the body. Similarly, in case of joint dislocations, if they are not treated immediately, they can result in permanent deformities, affecting the quality of life. Hence, it is always important to get the required medical attention for all kinds of injuries.


What Signs Indicate a Severe Injury?

If any of the following signs are elicited following an injury, it can indicate a severe injury, warranting immediate medical intervention - 
- Pain that persists after 48 hours of the injury. 
- Tenderness (pain upon touching) at the site of injury and its neighboring region. 
- Swelling, along with the clicking and stiffness of joints. 
- Decreased range of motion. 
- Tingling or numbness at the site of injury.


What Should People Do After a Sports Injury?

- After a sports injury, people should first isolate and protect the affected region from additional harm. 
- They should assess whether the injury is minor or major, necessitating immediate medical intervention. 
- In case of minor injuries, such as muscle sprains and strains, people can try home remedies, the application of ice packs, and compression with the help of bandages to reduce swelling. They can also have over-the-counter painkillers to help ease the pain.
- In cases of major injuries, such as fractures, dislocations, profuse bleeding, and consistent swelling that does not subside after a given time period, people should rush to the hospital and get appropriate treatment.


How Can People Assess if They Have a Sport-Related Injury?

A physical therapist can help assess a sport-related injury right on the ground by inspecting the injury and conducting a physical examination (palpating and assessing the tenderness in the affected region). Based on the results of the physical examination, further tests may be conducted, such as an X-ray, ultrasound, CT (computed tomography)- scan, and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)to visualize the injury with amplified images.
Dr. Raveendran S R
Dr. Raveendran S R



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