Injuries in Sports: Why Players Suffer

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Almost everyone in America loves sports. Whether it is football, basketball, baseball or hockey, Americans enjoy the glorious moments that players give to the fans. However, behind the scenes, players are getting banged up and injured every moment they play. About two years ago, the movie “Concussion” was released in United States and instantly drew the media’s attention. The movie discussed the significant impacts of concussions on NFL players’ health and successfully raised awareness about the injury. Besides concussions, there are numerous types of injuries that threaten players on the field.

Most recently, the NBA lost many of its stars due to gruesome injuries. Gordon Hayward of the Celtics suffered fractured left ankle, Demarcus Cousins of the Pelicans suffered a torn left achilles, and Mike Conley of the Grizzlies received a season-ending surgery on his left heel. These long-term injuries significantly affect a team’s plan for the year, and in worst case scenarios, they end championship hopes. “Injury prone” is a common term for players who constantly show up in suits instead of uniforms. The question is: why are injuries so prevalent in the modern sports world and what are the most common injuries?

Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots is a particularly injury prone player

It is surprising to see injuries happen each year even after major sports organizations like the NFL or NBA implemented new rules to protect the players. Some attribute such injuries to the higher level of competition in the leagues. Ironically, as teams take better care of players in terms of nutrition and health, stronger athletes engage in harder collisions that cause more severe injuries. Another significant problem is the accumulation of fatigue in athletes body. Especially in the NBA and MLB, in which each team plays 82 and 162 games respectively, the schedule demands lots of energy and effort from the players. They are also constantly on the plane or bus, moving to different cities each night. The accumulated fatigue not only reduces the level of performance, but it also makes players more vulnerable to sudden pain in their bodies.

So what injuries do we see most common in the sports world? According to the National Institutes of Health, the most common types are “muscle sprains and strains, knee injuries, achilles tendon injuries, pain along the shin bone, fractures, and dislocations”. To reduce the likelihood of these injuries, sports teams are trying out new methods. They constantly run warm up & cool down drills, check field conditions, and give players rest when they need it. Many researchers are showing interest in the area of sports health, and different scientific tools are being implemented to anticipate incoming injuries. For example, Intel engaged in a project to reduce concussions in football, developing a sensor that determines the amount of impact a person receives after contact. Hopefully, as new technologies come into action, players may be able to avoid potential injuries and continue to perform in high level for a long period of time.

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