Sports Injuries

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Sports Injuries
Sports Injuries

Video: Sports Injuries

Video: Sports Injuries
Video: WORST NBA Injury EVER? Doctor Explains Shaun Livingston Injury 2023, March

Sports injuries

Physical activity has far more positive effects on health than it involves risks - this has been clearly scientifically proven. An important aspect of sport is to challenge your body and thereby promote it. Occasionally, the limits of personal resilience are exceeded. This can lead to injuries.


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  • How common are sports injuries?
  • What are the causes of sports injuries?
  • What types of sports injuries are there?
  • How is the initial treatment for sports injuries carried out?
  • Wounds and bleeding: how are they cared for?
  • Sports injuries: what else should you watch out for?
  • How can you prevent?
  • Whom can I ask?

How common are sports injuries?

Around 200,000 sports accidents occur in Austria every year. Most sports injuries affect the legs, arms, and head. Sport is the number one cause of leisure accidents in people up to the age of 30. In relative terms, sports injuries become rarer with age. In many sports (e.g. football, mountain biking), men injure themselves more often than women.

Most sports accidents happen in the following sports:

  • Football (around 47,000 accidents)
  • alpine skiing (around 24,000 accidents)
  • Other team sports with ball (around 22,000 accidents)
  • Cycling, mountain biking (around 20,000 accidents)
  • Hiking, climbing, adventure (around 13,000 accidents)
  • Gymnastics, athletics (around 13,000 accidents)
  • Jogging / running, Nordic walking (around 9,000 accidents)
  • Roller sports (around 8,100 accidents)
  • Snowboard (around 5,000 accidents)
  • Swimming (around 5,000 accidents)

(Source: Top 10 sports accidents in Austria 2017, Board of Trustees for Road Safety)

What are the causes of sports injuries?

The human body can be affected in various ways during or through exercise. A distinction is made between sports injuries and overload injuries. An injury can be traced back to an acute event - an accident, a (so-called macro) trauma. On the other hand, damage occurs as a result of chronic overuse or overload over a longer period of time - i.e. through repeated microtraumas. The terms “injury” and “damage” or “damage” are often used synonymously, and the transitions are sometimes fluid. The term lesion is often used as a generic term.

The main causes of many injuries are to be found in the athlete himself / herself: e.g. lack of prerequisites, incorrect training design, insufficient training of motor skills, unsuitable equipment, incorrect ambition, carelessness and fatigue, etc. Other causes are e.g. massive pressure to perform, high stress during competition and insufficient recovery (regeneration).

Many athletes ignore the body's warning signals and fail to recognize that targeted training includes targeted recovery. The use of medication, including doping, can impair resilience, coordination, and ability to react and damage health. More on the topic: healthy exercise

What types of sports injuries are there?

Typical sports injuries are:

  • Bruises: A bruise results in a bruise between the bone and the periosteum that is often invisible from the outside; if the muscle is bruised, the bruise develops in the muscle tissue. The cause is direct violence, such as kicking the shin, falling on the ribs or “body check” in ice hockey.
  • Sprains: A joint is moved beyond the normal range of motion, resulting in strains and possibly fiber tears in the affected ligaments and joint capsules. When doing sport, sprains occur, for example, from “knuckling” while running or jumping.
  • Pulls: A pull is also caused by an unphysiological, excessive movement (e.g. stretching, twisting, jerky contraction), ligaments, tendons or muscles can be affected. A typical course of injury is, for example, a quick sprint or sudden change between accelerating and braking (e.g. in tennis).
  • Ruptures: Ruptures are tears in a tissue, for example in a tendon, a muscle or a ligament. They can be caused by direct force (e.g. a blow or kick) or indirect force (e.g. twisting, jerky movement) as well as overload. Common sports injuries include Achilles tendon ruptures, cruciate ligament ruptures, meniscus injuries, and muscle fiber tears.
  • Broken bones: The cause can be direct (e.g. blow or fall) or indirect force (e.g. twisting) on the bone. There are different types of broken bones. More on the topic: broken bones

How is the initial treatment for sports injuries carried out?

The correct initial measures in the event of an injury at the sports facility or at the scene of the accident are crucial. They set the course for further diagnostics and therapy. The PECH rule is an important guide for initial measures in the event of sports injuries. It describes the four elementary treatment principles: break, ice, compression and elevation.

P - like pause

In the event of an injury, the sporting activity must be stopped, i.e. a break must be taken. If there is a suspicion of a broken bone or joint injury, the affected body region should be immobilized with a splint.

Since professional splinting material is rarely available on site, a provisional immobilization, for example in the case of hand or ankle injuries, can be carried out with a thick newspaper or board that is folded and secured with a bandage. Care should be taken to padding to avoid pressure points. For example, a wooden spatula can be used for finger injuries. A triangular scarf can be made from a t-shirt or scarf, for example, to immobilize a shoulder, collarbone or upper arm fracture. For neck injuries, a rolled up towel can be used as a makeshift necktie.

E - like ice

A sports injury should be carefully cooled early on. The application of cold (cryotherapy) has many positive effects: It has a pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effect and prevents excessive swelling. Small blood vessels contract, reducing bleeding into the injured tissue. The smaller the swelling, the shorter the healing time.

The cooling can take place, for example, with ice cubes or ice pulp (crushed ice cubes) in a towel, a plastic bag or a sock, which are adapted to the injured body region and fixed with a bandage. Alternatives are ice water or cool packs and cooling gel packs. To avoid local frostbite, they must not come into direct contact with the skin. There is also a risk of local frostbite with so-called cold sprays. The “icing” with the still common chloroethyl is particularly risky.

Note The use of cold is controversial among sports physicians. There are different opinions, especially about its duration. Basically, the athletes must not find the cooling unpleasant. In the event of sensitivity or circulatory disorders, the application of cold must be avoided. The following also applies: No ice on open wounds.

C - as in Compression (compression)

Applying a pressure bandage is intended to prevent swelling. The elastic bandage must not be wrapped too tightly and should always be put on from the periphery of the body towards the middle of the body, for example from the fingertips towards the shoulder. Good combinations of cold therapy and compression are so-called hot ice dressings, cooling cuffs or bandages.

Note The injured person must never find the bandage uncomfortable. It is important not to be too cold and not too tight! In the event of numbness, tingling, increasing pain or signs of congestion or circulatory disorders - i.e. if swelling or blue or white discolouration of the skin occurs before (close to the body) or after (far from) the bandage - the bandage must be loosened or wrapped loosely.

H - like elevation

In the event of injuries to the leg or arm, the elevated position should also counteract further bleeding and thus also the swelling. In addition, the "removal" of fluid in the tissue is facilitated. This means that the foot is positioned above the level of the knee joint or the hand above the level of the elbow joint, ideally even higher than the level of the shoulder joint.

More on the topic: Emergency: Injuries

Wounds and bleeding: how are they cared for?

For open wounds, depending on the size of the wound, a plaster or a sterile loosely wrapped bandage is applied. There must be no congestion.

Note With first aid, ointments and tinctures are superfluous or even harmful. Disinfection is only carried out if a suitable agent is available that is (mucous) skin compatible and does not cause additional pain.

If there is heavy bleeding in the arm, leg or head, a pressure bandage is applied. The hand or foot should be kept above heart level if possible, and professional help must be called as soon as possible. Almost all bleeding can be stopped by pressing bandages, a towel or an item of clothing directly onto the wound. Paper tissue packs etc. can be used as pressure pads. A cloth or scarf, for example, is suitable as a temporary bandage.


If you have a nosebleed, the athlete should sit down bent over with his mouth open and breathe calmly. Both nostrils are pressed together with thumb and forefinger for about five to ten minutes. It is helpful to put a cold, damp cloth behind the neck. If the bleeding does not stop, the affected nostril can be closed with a compress.

More on the topic: Emergency: Bleeding

Sports injuries: what else should you watch out for?

Protection against hypothermia: In the event of an injury, make sure that the athlete does not become hypothermic. Sweaty and wet sportswear must be taken off. If dry clothing is not available, the injured person is wrapped in other textiles or a blanket. More on the topic: Emergency: Hypothermia

Tip Good protection against hypothermia, direct sunlight or moisture is an emergency blanket, which must be available in every vehicle first-aid kit. The silver side is on the inside (in contact with the injured person), the golden layer is on the outside.

  • Do not eat or drink anything: In the case of severe injuries, a possibly necessary operation must always be considered, for which the athlete should be sober.
  • No medication: Athletes should not take any medication or pain relievers without medical advice. Exceptions are, for example, long transport routes to the nearest doctor's practice or clinic.

Painkillers with the active ingredient acetylsalicylic acid (eg in Aspirin®) and other substances that inhibit blood clotting delay blood clotting and can contribute to the enlargement of a bruise. They also increase the risk of bleeding if an operation is necessary. For the same reason, ointments or gels (e.g. heparin ointments) should not be rubbed in in the case of acute injuries (e.g. torn muscle fibers). These contain substances which - especially when used over a large area - can disrupt blood clotting.

Note First aid does not replace the necessary medical treatment.

How can you prevent?

Regardless of whether they are a beginner or a professional - every athlete can do a lot to reduce the risk of injury if he or she pays attention to appropriate equipment and protective measures. These include:

  • Select the right sport : Find the sport that suits you. Your own preferences, current fitness level and age are important criteria when choosing.
  • Do warm-up exercises: Warm-up exercises before any sporting activity, e.g. mobilization, improve blood flow to the muscles and thus prevent injury.
  • Avoid overexertion: Choose the load so that it is good for your body - challenge yourself, but do not overwhelm yourself.
  • Adequate equipment: Use adequate equipment. Suitable shoes are particularly important for the respective sport in order to cope with the different loads on the feet. Materials that reduce stress and protect the joints are important for sports equipment.
  • Protective equipment: Use protective equipment. Some sports require appropriate protective measures, e.g. helmet when skiing or cycling, knee and elbow pads when inline skating.
  • Enjoyment of sport: Sport should be enjoyable and not perceived as a necessary evil. Because a forced body is more prone to injury.
  • Rest & relaxation: Allow your body to rest and relax. Take breaks during your workout and make sure you have enough rest (sleep, fluids, nutrition) between units.
  • No sport if you are injured or ill : Do not do sport if you are injured or ill
  • Do not exercise while taking painkillers: Do not exercise under the influence of painkillers, as these can obscure your current limit.
  • Sports medicine test: A test is recommended if you have not played any sport for a long time, are overweight or have previous illnesses, or if you are about to (re) start sport. The doctor examines the heart, lungs, blood and the musculoskeletal system, among other things. She / he can also advise you on choosing a suitable sport.
  • Beginners course: For some sports, a beginners course is recommended at the beginning so that incorrect movement sequences do not become familiar (e.g. yoga, tennis) or to get to know possible dangers (e.g. climbing, skiing).

Whom can I ask?

You can contact the following offices to clarify sports injuries:

  • General practitioner
  • Specialist in trauma surgery
  • Specialist in orthopedics and traumatology
  • Sports physician
  • Accident ambulance
  • emergency rescue (144)

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