Injuries are the worst nightmare for sports and physical exercise persons. It is one of the things that can hinder performances or even kill off people’s careers. Though in sports, injuries are inevitable. It comes in every athletes’ life; athletes are in peak physical form, at times get hurt. It could sometimes be cruel, seeing players or athletes limping off the field or tracks during competitions in tears, or even during training and drilling.
Injuries are painful, and to say the least debilitating. They can take some many efforts to prevent. Sustaining muscle and tendon injuries and bone fractures, are painful. Sometimes when they occur one can stay of the training camp for weeks, months, even years! This is a bad new you know. Have you imagined why some players shed tears while leaving the pitch? Have you imagined while some fitness personnel even stay off social media out of frustrations and because of recovery process? It is because, they are not just hurt physically but also psychologically. And we must note that injuries can result in interruptions to their daily life, loss of income, temporary or permanent disability, or in severe cases, death.
In this article I want us to pay attention to learn why some injuries occur, and how to prevent them. You will also notice, through our discussion that some fitness activities performed in fitness facilities can have the potential to cause harm and injuries sustained by fitness activity participants.
CAUSES OF INJURIES IN SPORTS
There are many factors that cause injuries during sports activities. Ranging from inadequate training to loss of form. Reports show that causes of injuries could as follows:
a. From overexertion =36.2%
b. from general free weight activities = 52.6%
c. From group exercise classes = 35.9%
d. From Falls during group exercise = 28.5%
e. From awkward landing during group exercise = 25.8%
These reports show that there are causes to the various types of injuries in sports. Some people jump into physical activity out of the excitement to participate in it. This could be the number one cause of injury in physical exercise. But we are concerned here with those who actually are into sports and fitness, both as health inspired exercise and as professions. Before looking at the various types of injuries, let us look at the following causes:
1. An accidental injury
2. Lack of sports and fitness activities/poor training practices
3. Improper training methods and equipment
4. Insufficient warm up and stretching
5. Aging slowing body reactions
1. An accidental injury
Athletes, especially those involved in contact sports like football/soccer, volleyball, baseball, racket, ruby, etc often have a moment of collisions and rough tackles. There could be abrupt pushes, miscalculated movements etc. These could cause injuries. Accidental injuries are not intended. They may be resulting from “overuse, direct impact, or the application of force that is greater than the body part can structurally withstand” during contact games. These could end up in collisions that cause injuries head injuries, bleeding, rupture of bones or dislocations.
2. Lack of Sports and fitness Activities/ poor training practices
It is obvious that not exercising for two to six months or even a year, may lead to loss of virtually all fitness gains. Sports is a continues exercise, and given such gap means one should expect some difficulties at return. These could be because of loss of aerobic capacity which occurs more rapidly than declines in muscle strength. What this means is that athletes and other fitness individuals who do constant sports and who have trained intensely with fitness in form gradually decline because of non-involvement in activities as usual. If there is a stop, to restart is exceedingly difficult. The time space already causes body structural abnormalities. One at the return start witnessing weakness in muscles, tendons, and the ligaments. If there is lack of training, it is advice to begin with a simple physical exercise to get the body attuned to the techniques once more. Increasing exercise intensity too quickly may cause pain and subsequently develops causing injuries.
3.Improper training methods and equipment
I read a report from the National Safety Council (NSC), that shows the injuries caused using some equipment in 2017. The injured number reported that year only was 526,000. Basketball had 500,000 injuries, bicycling has 457,000 injuries and football had 341,000 injuries. These injuries caused by improper training and bad equipment could be reduced in greater percentage if more attention is given. Not only equipment but also method of applying the training techniques using this equipment.
There are many sports exercises and method of training in each one of them. We can just mention few sports and fitness events here. These include both personal and professional sports. We can have a look at the following exercises: Skipping, Treadmill, running, boxing-related stepping machine, stretching, exercise bike, push-ups, elliptical trainer, weight machine, barbell, dumbbell, bench press, squats, lunges or dead lifts, chin up/pull up and resistance band, sit ups/abdominal exercises, and rowing machine. Each one of these sports and fitness activity has rules and guidelines on how to carry out the training, even in some personal exercises. Not observing these rules or applying them wrongly can lead to injuries.
It is true that athletes must both develop and maintain high levels of physical fitness in their various sports so that they can maintain the form and the physical demands of the tasks they perform, but we cannot rule out the fact that such physical training if not well applied could lead to training-related injuries.
4. Insufficient warm up and stretching
It is always necessary for athletes to undergo minutes of warm up and stretching before each training or game. Lack of adequate stretching causes so many problems for athletes. One can easily tear up muscles or have muscle constraints if he did not warm up or stretched enough. Muscle pull is the common injury associated with lack of stretching.
Warm-up and stretching gives the muscles the elasticity and fitness they need for physical exercises. They prevent muscle injuries. There should be minimum of 15 minutes warm up or stretching before any sport event. Though excess of warming and stretching can also cause muscle injury.
5. Aging slowing body reactions
There are also injuries in children sports, but it does not change the fact that age is a factor in athletes sustaining certain injuries. The more one ages, the recurring the injury percentage. The body becomes more vulnerable to certain kinds of training and physical activities.
Normally the irony of sports is this natural diminishing returns. It not similar with every other sphere of endeavor like in business, but it is very conspicuous in sports because of its physical demanding. Sports is more enjoyable at the younger age than when old age sets in. There comes the advent of decrease in flexibility because of changes in the body’s connective tissue, weak muscles, loose joints, arthritis, back pains, etc. When the body lacks flexibility performances slow down because the body cannot respond well to the stimulus as before. The knees, hips, and other joints are wearing out and as one exercises, the muscular tissues start tearing constantly, but all these depend on the age. The way we did when we were younger. This stress can gradually destroy the joints.
In football, players start retiring from the age of 32 even some retire before that age. Players start losing form once they are from the age of 32-34 and consequently consider retirement from the sport. Some other athlete, in other sports could not reach even 32 while in certain sports, 40 could be age of retirement, but the fact remains that the older the athletes grow, more prone to injury they become.
WHAT KINDS OF INJURIES
There are many kinds of sports related injuries which we cannot really mention here. But these are the common sports related injuries which also could be avoided or prevented if we avoid the above stated causes.
a. Cardiovascular related disease: Athletes must be in a good health form before engaging in physical exercises. The most dangerous injury that can lead to immediate death is Cardiovascular related disease. If unnoticed and untreated, it could be so dangerous to athletes. Many athletes have lost their lives on the track or field because of heart related issues. If one has a low resting it could be great, it means he has cardiovascular fitness and efficiency. The normal resting heart rate of an athlete is rated 40 beats per minute, while the average heart rate that ranges from 60 to 100 beats a minute.
b. Muscle sprains and strains: sometimes these two are used interchangeably. They are common muscular injuries, which are connected to stretching or tearing of the fibrous bands of tissue that connect bones to a joint. These tissues are called the ligaments. Normally the term used here is the sprain. It could be also a situation of tearing a small muscle tissue that connects muscle to bone, which is called the tendon. These kinds of injuries happen mostly in racket sports, throwing, and contact sports like football, basketball, Ruby, hockey, etc. Strains occur when (tendons). Tears of the ligaments and tendons. One can avoid these kinds of injuries by building muscle strength through participating muscle building programs, daily stretching exercises, press-ups, warming up, before any sports activity or practice, using proper equipment, and using appropriate dietary plans.
c. Dislocated joints: these are injuries due to disconnection of two or more bones from the bow or socket. The end of the bones in the bow or socket are pushed out of their normal position causing so many pains and swollenness. Dislocations are deformation of the joint, and it makes the joint stiff. This causes the joint to become immobile. Although they could be put back or operated upon. Dislocations could be through falls, accidents involving moving vehicles and collisions during contact sport or violent contact in sports. It could be accidental. They could be on the shoulders, kneels, heals, elbow, fingers or even neck. When this happens, the athlete, or sport person need healing period depending on the recommendation of the physician. There are therapies for healing of dislocations, including some diets that will help to relief the resultant pains and inflammations.
d. Fractured bones: mostly commonly in sports, athletes fracture bones. This is common football and rugby because of the violent contacts. The fracturing could be on wrists, hands, head, nose collarbones, ankle, and feet. These could be Stress fractures because of sharp or repetitive movements. When these occur, wearing the appropriate protective wear, such as head protector, gloves, padding or taping. We sometimes see athletes wearing nose or face protector. This is to prevent recurring of the injury especially when the period of recovery has never elapsed.
e. Head injuries: The head injuries in sports could be caused by collisions or violent fall. Head injuries are more serious and are treated as such. They are dangerous, traumatic, quite delicate, and mostly catastrophic because they could cause mental impairment or concussion, permanent disability, and even death. Head injuries are common in contact sports such as football, basketball, rugby, boxing, judo, ice hockey, skiing, and snowboarding. They could touch the brain tissues, brain, and neural tissue. Most violent sports should use protective apparatus to avoid the injury. And where it occurs, the athlete should be taken proper care of, without involving again in the ongoing sports.
NUTRITION FOR INJURED ATHLETES
During injury and recovery, athletes, could see so much change in their diet. There must be change in the intake of food and supplements depending on the type of injury and personal body response. Foods that will help in wound healing, protein synthesis and optimization of the immune system are required. Good nutrition brings general health and well-being as well as providing quick healing in the process of injury recovery. There must be reduction in overall calorie intake to have lower energy because of lack of physical exercise during recuperation. Organic foods with micronutrients such as seeds, whole grains and animal products are a few common ingredients on the micronutrient foods generally advised for injured athletes.
These should be considered while thinking about the best nutrition for healing of injuries:
a. Micronutrients, more food, and supplement from this is needed for healing
b. Dietary Fat: monounsaturated and omega 3 to control inflammation
c. Herbs, Spices, and Flavonoids: like turmeric, garlic, bromelain.
d. Calories: should be lowed because of lack of physical activities.
Some major organic food for Injured athletes:
1. Oranges, grapes, strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, kiwis, and melons for vitamin C. These help in repairing of the body tissues and cells. Help in collagen formation and immune function.
2. Micronutrient-rich foods such as meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and dairy products
3. Small portions of whole oats, whole grain rice, sprouted grain breads, and quinoa.
4. Organic milk and yogurt, fortified non-dairy milks, and mushrooms
5. Some sea food like Fishes, Oysters, crab, scallops, cheese, wild rice,
6. Avocado, olive oil, cottonseed oil, soybean oil.
7. Vegetables like pumpkin, seeds, almonds, cucumber, garden eggs etc.
8. Grass-fed beef are great sources of zinc, another important nutrient for immune function, athletic strength, and elevating mood.
During injury recovery, it is advisable to maintain adequate protein intake. Keeping the body hydrated with much fluid intake supplement for reduced physical activity.
FOOD SUPPLEMENTS FOR QUICK RECOVERY DURING INJURY
Supplementation of food nutrients especially in micronutrients is so much advice during injury recovery. Supplements need to be consumed on a long-term basis, and adequate supplements help in injury recovery and optimization of immune system and functions.
Injured Athletes or fitness persons should consider supplements rich in the following nutrients:
1. Protein-Rich Foods supplements: for building block for muscles, ligaments, and tendons
2. Fiber-Rich Foods Fruits and Vegetables Rich in Vitamin C: enhance healing after suffering from tendon injuries.
3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: For controlling the inflammation of injuries
4. Curcumin: reduce oxidative stress, lipid peroxidation, and extensive cross-linking of collagen in tendons
5. Zinc-Rich Foods Vitamin D: repair for ligaments and tendons, regulates inflammation and immune system cells.
6. Bromelain: for healing acute Achilles tendon injuries
7. Calcium-Rich Foods: Mainly for bone strengthen, and to achieve optimal nerve transmission, blood clotting, hormone secretion and muscle contraction.
8. Creatine: reduces the risk of injury but help individuals recover from injuries at a faster rate. It stimulates muscle growth and helps for strength during rehabilitation.
9. Glucosamine: for improving symptoms of osteoarthritis, lower inflammation, help in healing ligament and tendon injuries.
10. Arginine: Helps the body to deposit collagen in wounds, which helps in healing of the wound, especially injuries due to muscular strains.