Everyone knows that sports are dangerous but that doesn’t stop them from playing them. The thrill of the sport is worth the potential risk for injury. Contact sports need to be regulated stricter and become all around safer to keep our favorite athletes safe no matter how young or old. No sport is worth affecting your health for the rest of your life.
Sprains and strains in ankles, shoulders, and knees are the most common injuries in sports. When athletes get injured it is extremely difficult for them to sit out and rest until they get healthy enough to play. For this reason, it is common for athletes to play while injured which makes the injury much worse, potentially season or even career ending. The Washington Post explains to us the different types of sports injuries, classified into two categories. The first category is traumatic injuries. These injuries are sustained by sudden changes in movement, and sudden high levels of stress on the body throughout impact. An example of this would be getting hit in a football game where a perfectly healthy body part get abruptly abused and causes an injury. The other category of an injury is an overuse injury. This sounds pretty self explanatory. It is sustained over a long or short period of time due to continuous use of body parts without enough time for recovery. For some reason, people are much more attracted to the dangerous sports such as hockey and football. It must be the thrill of the risk of injury that keeps people hooked and coming back for more. Football has the highest risk of injury with hockey following closely behind. The top five most strenuous sports are: starting at number five is lacrosse, then rugby, followed by hockey, after that comes football and the most strenuous sport of them all is MMA wrestling.
A lot of time and money is invested to creating the safest sporting equipment possible. The pads are made to work when they fit properly. Athletes should be taught how to choose the correctly sized equipment. If they are using pads too big or too small, the pads will be covering the wrong areas which can result in serious injury. When worn the correct way, the pads will absorb majority of the physical blow and leave you unharmed. Players wearing the wrong sized equipment should be banned and regulated closer.
The rate of career ending injuries is on the rise so finally the heads of different leagues are putting stricter penalties for vicious hits that are known to cause harm to an individual. For example in hockey, the leading cause of concussions is due to a hit from behind into the boards.
The USA Hockey Rulebook clearly states that a major penalty plus a game misconduct penalty, or match penalty, must be called in the following instances:
(1) In every instance where a player forcefully checks an opponent who is standing along the boards (back toward the middle of the ice).
(2) In every instance where a player is thrust head first into the boards or goal frame.
(3) In every instance where injury results from a check from behind, regardless of whether or not board contact is made.
A match penalty must be assessed in all instances when a player clearly checks an opponent from behind with excessive force while the opponent is in a vulnerable position. Checking from behind is senseless and extremely dangerous. On-Ice Officials must be sensitive to all checks from behind that occur within the “danger zone,” which is the area approximately ten feet out from the boards. Players who are checked from behind in this area and who then crash into the boards may be at high risk of receiving a serious and possibly life altering injury.
A very interesting article written by the Virginia pilot explains a case of a recent hockey player from South Jersey named Anthony Calabrese. He is a Gloucester Catholic High school alumni playing for the Norfolk Admirals of Virginia in the ECHL professional league. From behind, Murovich, a veteran with the Atlanta Gladiators, pushes Calabrese in the lower back with a stick. Calabrese buckles backward, then forward, falls and almost explodes headfirst into the boards. Murovich was initially fined and suspended indefinitely by the ECHL for boarding. O n Thursday, that was elevated to a 12-game suspension for careless and reckless play resulting in an injury to an opponent. Calabrese will suffer from a broken vertebrae were C7 (cervical), at the base of the neck, and T1 (thoracic), at the top of the back. A broken neck and broken back. Luckily he will make a full recovery. The rehabilitation will be lengthy but in reality Anthony is lucky to be alive. Hockey is a dangerous sport and sometimes people do not realize how dangerous is actually is. Anthony was just playing the sport he loves, just like he has for his entire life. Because of one little hit, his life will be changed forever. This story explains exactly why these new rules need to be in place to help prevent these types of incidents in the future.
Similar rules have been put into place in football as well. The helmet to helmet, often referred to as targeting, hits are often life altering so the NFL had to do something about this epidemic. A large fine is given to the guilty player as well as a game misconduct. This is just one of many rule changes the NFL has passed in 2016. A few other new rules posted on NFL.com are:
- Make all chop blocks illegal.
- Expand the horse collar rule
- A player who is penalized twice in one game for certain types of unsportsmanlike conduct fouls will be disqualified.
- Eliminate the five-yard penalty for when an eligible receiver illegally touches a forward pass after being out of bounds and re-establishing himself inbounds. The owners voted to make it a loss of down.
These rules are all imposed to help lower the injury rate to these athletes and make the sport all around safer without losing the interest from the audience.
The Washington Post elaborates on the crisis claiming that, more than 40 percent of retired National Football League players had signs of traumatic brain injury based on sensitive MRI scans called diffusion tensor imaging, according to a press release from the AAN. The researchers studied 165 deceased people who had played the sport in high school, college or professionally, and found evidence of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) in 131 of them.
Out of all of the players affected by the constant blows to the head, I found one case to be very interesting. It is an older player who had recently passed away. During his time playing in the NFL, the medical technology was not as advanced as it is today. Therefore, much of the brain trauma from this era went undetected.
An article from ESPN explains to us how Lew Carpenter never had any concussions — or at least none that his family knew about back in the 1950s and ’60s, when he played for the Lions, Browns and Packers and there wasn’t as much concern over them as there is now. Still, when he began having trouble late in his life finding the right word, keeping things organized, remembering why he was going to the doctor or controlling his temper, relatives grew concerned. After he died last year at the age of 78, they agreed to donate his brain to researchers studying a degenerative disease increasingly found in football players and other athletes who have absorbed repeated blows to the head. This week the results came in: Carpenter had an advanced form of Chronic Traumatic Encephelopathy.
A major cause of concussions is because players are not using safe protective equipment. In this day and age the technology in sports equipment is state of the art. While the training is getting more advanced, players are getting bigger and stronger. Therefore, the equipment technology is getting more advanced as well. The problem with it is that it is bulky and ugly. Players don’t want to wear big bulky helmets due to the fact that they are not the best looking . Players like to use their older style helmets that they think have good style and that they are used to. This old technology in helmets is outdated and plays a huge role in concussion numbers. Another similar example of this is shoulder pads. Athletes like the smaller lighter style pads so they are more agile. The downfall of this is when they do make contact with a 200 pound opponent it causes serious shoulder trauma. The number two most common injury in contact sports are acromioclavicular (AC) joint separations. This could easily be prevented with the proper use of protective equipment. Athletes are just too stubborn to adapt to the new style. An AC joint separation or AC joint sprain is an injury to the ligament that holds the acromioclavicular joint together at the top of the shoulder. It is usually caused by fall or blow onto an outstretched arm. The Sports Injury Clinic explains to us that AC joint sprains range from very mild to a severe injury. Early treatment and support through taping is important to avoid long term problems or shoulder deformity. Symptoms of this type of injury include pain right at the end of the collar bone on the top of the shoulder. The pain may be widespread throughout the shoulder initially but later on more localized to a bony point on the top of the shoulder. Pain will be worse when trying to move the arm overhead and there is often swelling and depending on the extent of the injury a deformity may be seen in the form of an obvious lump on top of the shoulder joint. Acromioclavicular joint separations are graded one to six with grade one being mild with only minor ligament damage and no separation of the bones while grade 6 is a severe injury with complete ruptures of the ligaments and visible deformity. In most cases this is treated solely by resting the shoulder for six to eight weeks. “Sudden Onset” explains the injury in depth. The problem is that players would rather fight through the pain of the injury and continue to play. This causes big problems later down the road. There should be more strict regulations on the return time of known injured players. It should be left to a higher authority to clear them, allowing the Injured player to return playing full contact. If the injury does not heal correctly, a serious surgery is required to fix the damaged ligaments. Similar to the ACL tear, there is an extreme physical therapy treatment required to rehabilitate the shoulder.
Along with the concussion issue, I can also relate to the AC joint separation dilemma. In my years of ice hockey, I have suffered from two AC joint separations in both of my shoulders. This constant beating on my abused shoulders is what ultimately ended my hockey career. All of my coaches and scouts had big plans for me after collegiate hockey but unfortunately due to the neglect to my injured body parts, my career came to an abrupt ending. All of my dreams went down the tubes. I cannot stress enough how important it is to take care of your injuries in the proper manner and not rush right back into the game. Doctors get paid a high salary to figure out what the necessary precautions are for your injury, you should listen to them before you lose your chance at the game you love.
A concussion is when the head receives a blow causing the brain to shake inside of the skull and strike the inside of the skull. In a sense, it creates a contusion on the brain affecting some cognitive abilities.
Symptoms of a grade 1 concussion include being dazed and an inability to follow directions or think clearly, states Brain Injury Association of America. With a grade 2 concussion, the individual experiences similar symptoms that last longer and may also suffer amnesia. With a grade 3 concussion, the person losses consciousness and experiences more serious symptoms such as a noticeable change in brain function, behavior and cognition.In addition to the cognitive symptoms, concussions may also cause a person to feel nauseous, dizzy or tired, notes WebMD. People with concussions may experience blurred vision, difficulty balancing and sensitivity to light. Changes in sleeping patterns or mood may also occur.
Most people fully recover from a mild concussion with rest, according to WebMD. Even if symptoms disappear quickly after a mild concussion, the brain is still healing and is more prone to injury. Repeated concussions may cause permanent damage and inhibit a person’s ability to learn, speak or move.
Playing competitive ice hockey for the past 15 years has given me a broad insight to the damage that is associated with concussions. I personally have had 6 concussions. Some mild, and some severe. After a few concussions you really start to notice the long term side affects. standing up too quickly makes you black out, exerting too much energy too quickly without warming up makes you dizzy, and concentrating for long periods of time gives you migraines. I can personally say that concussions have a huge impact on your everyday life if not treated properly. I was young and dumb and did not use the proper healing procedure. I refused to sit out for the required time period because all I wanted to do was play. I had all of my coaches and teammates pushing me to get back on the ice. I gave in before I was cleared and now I am suffering the consequences. I should have listed to the doctors and trainers but I was naive and just wanted to play. Now a few pointless hockey games are going to affect me for the rest of my life.
Next on the list of popular sports injuries are ligament strains and tears. Each sport has different common injuries. For example, in baseball a common injury is called Tommy John syndrome. The Tommy John surgery repairs an injured elbow ligament. It’s most commonly done on college and pro athletes, especially baseball pitchers. It’s sometimes done on younger players as well. WebMd explains to us how the surgery is named after former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Tommy John. In 1974, he underwent the first surgery of this type.Tommy John surgery is also called UCL reconstruction. UCL is short for ulnar collateral ligament.During Tommy John surgery, a surgeon replaces the injured UCL with a tendon taken from somewhere else in the patient’s body.
Now in more physical contact sports other injuries to ligaments are more common. ACL and MCL tears are very common in sports such as football and soccer. Both ligaments are located in the leg and the injuries frequently occur simultaneously. A Medical Collateral Ligament (MCL) injury can cause knee pain and instability, forcing you to take time off from your usual activities. While resting the knee will help prevent further damage, rest alone won’t speed up the healing process. If you want to heal your MCL as quickly as possible, you need to relieve the pain and stimulate blood flow in the soft tissue deep beneath the skin as stated by King Brand. Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tears are usually much more serious than a MCL injury and almost always requires surgery. If it is in fact a tear and not just a strain, surgery is required if you ever want to properly walk again let alone play again. The surgery is the first step but the rehabilitation is the most important part. It is very long, tedious and honestly painful. You have to try and get all of your flexibility back because your tendon is going to be extremely tight after the surgery. You need to re-teach yourself how to walk all over again.
HodgesCorrespondent, Jim. “Admirals’ Calabrese Glad to Be Alive after Vicious Hit Broke His Neck, Spine.” Virginian-Pilot. N.p., 06 Dec. 2016. Web. 09 Dec. 2016.
“Evidence of CTE Found in Lew Carpenter’s Brain.” ESPN.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Dec. 2016.
“Tommy John Surgery (UCL Reconstruction) and Recovery.” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.
“What Is a Mild Concussion?” Reference. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.
“2016 Rules Changes and Points of Emphasis.” 2016 Rules Changes and Points of Emphasis | NFL Football Operations. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Dec. 2016.
Casebook.” USA Hockey Officiating Rulebook Mobile Site. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.
“forty Percent of Former NFL Players Suffer from Brain Injuries, New Study Shows.” The Washington Post. WP Company, n.d. Web. 06 Dec. 2016.