Are you ready for some football? If so, it’s time to also get ready for some frequent football injuries. They go hand and hand with this sport, maybe more so than any other. Running, tackling, changing direction while running, falling, and overuse of a part of your body all contribute to football injuries from head to toe.
Weekend warriors, professionals, high school and college players, and even the pee wee leagues can expect frequent football injuries, so what should you be on the lookout for?
Concussions From Head Injuries
This type of injury has been in the news during the last decade a bit more than usual, and for good reason. Even with the proper protective gear and special helmets, a player can still experience a concussion or eventually develop CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) causing trauma to the brain, loss of short term memory, confusion, and loss of consciousness.
This type of injury can be the most long lasting and detrimental result of playing football. The more concussions a player experiences, the more at risk they are for developing CTE, which is why you often see some very short football careers in the NFL.
One quarter of all football injuries are the result of a fracture. Players can fracture their shoulder or clavicle from a hard hit or from a fall. Finger fractures are also extremely common as players are constantly using their hands to make a tackle or snap a pass. Tendonitis of the wrist is common with these types of repetitive hand motions.
Hip pointers are another common injury that can occur after an especially tough tackle. A hip pointer is a deep bruise or fracture of the pelvis.
Neck and Shoulder Injuries
Even with state of the art shoulder pads, athletes can still experience shoulder separations and dislocations from a hard fall, hit, or attempting to stop a fall with their hand. Whiplash and neck strains are possible if a player experiences a hyperextension of the neck from a tackle.
A semi-common occurrence, a torn rotator cuff occurs from overuse of the shoulder, especially from throwing the football. For this reason, quarterbacks are at an increased risk for developing a rotator cuff tear.
Injuries of The Knee and Leg
ACL and PCL injuries are quite common in football. This injury to the anterior or posterior cruciate ligament occurs with a sudden twist or a direct blow. These same movements can also lead to an injury of the meniscus, which is the cartilage that exists between the knee joint.
Running often leads to a number of other potential pulls, tears or strains. Among the most common in football players are groin pulls, hamstring injury, and strained calf muscles.
Foot and Ankle Injuries
Sprained ankles are likely to occur with severe stretching or tearing of ligaments near the ankle. One chronic football injury is Achilles Tendonitis. This pain in the back of the ankle occurs with overuse, and if left untreated, it can lead to a serious tendon rupture.
Other common football injuries involve the back. Players can have negative symptoms from a herniated disc due to a fall or repetitive strains. Others can have low back pain from muscle strains and trauma to the back from tackles.
Precautions When Playing Football
Always make sure to warm up and cool down whether you are just practicing or actually participating in a game. It is also imperative that players be equipped with the proper protective gear, and drink enough fluids to remain hydrated in the heat. See a sports medicine specialist prior to joining a high school or college team to obtain a physical, and to discuss more ways in which you can protect yourself from experiencing an injury during one of your football games.
If you happen to experience injury, be sure to allow enough time afterwards for your body to heal properly. Always see a doctor after a head injury to check for concussion.