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Archive for January 11, 2007

Jan. 11, 2007 — Incidences of injury, part 4

The American Journal of Sports Medicine published an article in April 2006 about the incidences of all types of injuries in team sports during the Athens Olympics of 2004.

According to one source who co-authored the study, field hockey players had amongst the lowest injury rates when it came to head injuries in the Summer Games.

The survey takes into account a wide variety of sports: men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s handball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s field hockey, baseball, softball, men’s and women’s water polo, and men’s and women’s volleyball.

Note that only field hockey, baseball, and softball required the players to use an hard implement and a hard ball to play the sport; all the others use just an inflatable bladder.

Of all the Olympic injuries reported in Athens (377), half of the injuries were to the lower half of the body. And even with these highly-trained and prepared athletes, more than half of the injuries that would have prevented a player’s further participation in the Olympic tournaments were of a non-contact nature.

This, of course, points out the utter folly in the hope that protective equipment can result in a totally injury-free game. It does not. A torn ACL, like a lifted hockey ball, is, like it or not, part of the game.

But preparation lessens injury. Proper lifting and training of adductor and hamstring muscles prevents ACL tears; proper tackling, matching the defender’s right shoulder to the ball-carrier, prevents head injuries.

Prevention and preparation for contingencies is part of not only proper coaching, but proper parenting. Looking for a national governing body or the courts for remedies is not the American way.

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