Potential risks for injury in competitive sports

If you’ve been following the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games you’ve probably seen the amount of rigorous training and physical strain the athletes endure to compete in their sport. In previous blog posts of our Back Series, during the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games, we’ve focused on the importance of preventing injuries with team-based chiropractic treatment. However, injuries can still occur regardless of preventative treatments and training.

Here are some items that can put an athlete at greater risk for injury1,2:

  1. Poor Form
    Athletes need to pay careful attention to their preparation, form and training. Obviously, different sports have different demands which are accompanied by technique and skill set. Learning the proper technique and form that permits the optimal use of your biomechanics could help reduce the risk of injury while improving performance. Our tips for posture can be helpful for athletes and all Canadians – whether you are at play or at work.
  2. Dysfunctions
    Injuries to the ankles, knees, elbows, shoulders or spine can easily occur if an athlete is not training optimally and committed to a balanced training regimen. Whether or not they’re playing a high-impact sport, athletes are often just as susceptible to injure joints and soft tissues. Talk to your chiropractor about potential dysfunctions that may put you at greater risk for injuries and discuss potential prevention strategies that would allow you to continue playing the sport you love.
  3. Restricted Mobility
    Mobility is the ability to move freely and easily. However, for a number of reasons, your ability to move might be compromised which can increase your risk of injury. Depending on the sport performed, having a greater range of motion may be critical to performance. Also, if joint dysfunction is present for example, the athlete may be unsuspecting of the potential risk and continue playing normally until symptoms manifest or performance is hindered. This is why most athletes will be assessed regularly to ensure their musculoskeletal system is healthy and functioning optimally. Try these simple movements to see how you move.
  4. Not Using the Right Equipment
    Not all sports require protective equipment, but for the sports that do, athletes need to ensure it fits properly and is correctly worn. The right fit, weight, and durability are important for professional athletes to consider for their equipment so they can avoid sports-related injuries. Even recreational athletes should have their equipment professionally fitted and checked before they get in the game.

An athlete can rely on their healthcare team, including their chiropractor, to help learn more about their musculoskeletal system and what injuries they are at possible risk for. Following CCA’s Fit Tips is another great way to educate yourself on keeping your body healthy and minimizing your risk for injury. It’s important to recognize that impact alone is not the only thing that can put an athlete at risk for injury.

 1. Bahr R1, Krosshaug T. Understanding injury mechanisms: a key component of preventing injuries in sport. Br J Sports Med. 2005 Jun;39(6):324-9.
 2. McIntosh AS. Risk compensation, motivation, injuries, and biomechanics in competitive sport. Br J Sports Med. 2005 Jan;39(1):2–3

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