Sports Injury Facts and Prevention
As health professionals stress the importance of physical activity, we strive to be more active in our daily lives. This may be joining different sports or biking or doing whatever activity suits you. But with increased activity comes an increased risk of injury. Between 2005 and 2006 there were 127,365 emergency room visits related to sports and recreation injuries in Ontario. These resulted in 2,982 hospitalizations, and 9,425 days admitted to hospital.
How people get injured seems to vary by age. Children under the age of nine and adults over the age of 50 are more likely to be injured from a fall from a bicycle. Children between the ages of 10 and 14 are most commonly injured while falling on skates (ice or inline), skis, or sports boards. Teens 15 to 19 are often injured while colliding with another person during sports, probably because competitive sports become more intense at this level of play. Adults between the ages of 20 and 49 are most likely to be injured by being struck by a piece of equipment such as a ball or a puck.
The risks associated with sports and recreation vary by age group as well.
Children, whose muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments are still growing, are more prone to injury. There is also an increased risk for children who are smaller than their peers or less skilled or coordinated.
For adults, the need to attend work throughout the week forces us to try to cram all of our physical activity into the weekend, causing us to push our bodies too far. Sudden spurts of activity can cause stress to the bones and joints of an unfit person. Women are at an increased risk due to estrogen levels and structural differences in the body, namely the muscles of the knee and thigh. These differences alter how they jump, land, and twist, making them vulnerable to injury.
The risks to seniors stems from the aging process. Deterioration of vision, hearing, agility, and mobility can cause accidents during sports and recreation which can then lead to injury. Seniors can often have a slower reaction time as well.
We as a society do need to become more active, but we need to bear the risks in mind. What it all comes down to is educating yourself and your children. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Know what level of activity works for you and wear any protective gear that is required or available. Most important, know your limits. Pushing yourself or your kids to a higher level of activity before you/they are ready can cause serious injury.
And remember that a physiotherapist can assess your risks and help guide and prepare you for a safe and injury free active life!
Ontario Health Promotion E-Bulletin - www.ohpe.ca