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Sports Then and Now

Sports and Their Associated Injury Risks

Posted on September 21, 2020 by Luke Windsor

Injuries are an unfortunate and often unavoidable side effect of physically demanding sports.

While many are not harmful long term, they can take an athlete out for many games at a time, and the worst injuries are often the cause of a young career ending early. If you are planning on competing in these sports, or even just enjoy them casually for exercise, you should be aware of these injury possibilities. 


Everyone has heard of the infamous boxer’s fracture. This is caused by the small bones in your hand breaking from the repetitious training involved in the sport. Oftentimes these fractures are minor and non-threatening, but many promising boxers have had their careers ended early as a result of extreme fractures. On this note, many people are unaware that boxing gloves are actually not for the protection of your opponent’s head, but rather to preserve the small bones of the hand. Other common injuries include detached retinas, broken noses or orbital bones, and the long term brain damage that may occur. Ouch! 

American Football 

It should be no surprise that injuries in American football are not only common, but expected and planned for. The athletes of other sports may become injured on occasion, but in the NFL it is sadly a regular affair. This is why teams have a great deal of depth in every position, with star players regularly taking breaks to let their secondaries have a chance on the field. 

Also unlike other sports, there is a wide range of injuries that occur in American football. This is a sport that even something as seemingly minor as a thumb sprain can take an all-star player out of commission for weeks. According to several studies, the most common injuries in the sport revolve around the knees, ankles, shoulder, and head. These all make sense when you consider the aggressive full-contact playstyle. 

To illustrate how injuries can affect the career of players, you can look to Joe Flacco, an NFL quarterback. Flacco was once the star quarterback of the Ravens, but his recurring neck injuries have caused him to take a back seat instead of his usual starting role. His new team, the New York Jets, are unsure if they will be able to depend on him for the length of the season, so in the meantime they found a young player to fill in the role. 

Things have not panned out with the new quarterback unfortunately. The way things are going in New York, Flacco may be called upon soon to take the lead. He recently has returned to limited practice and the team is hoping he makes a full recovery from his neck injuries soon. The Jets face off against the Colts on September 27th where they are a serious +230 underdog in the matchup. Flacco returning in time for the game may help tilt those odds. 


Tennis is a sport that consists entirely of rapidly jerking your body side to side at a feverish pace. Many of the resulting injuries are attributed to this like back and knee pains, and straining your achilles tendon. Of course, the most well known of these injuries is “tennis elbow.” This is when the tendons around the elbow are overexerted, resulting in pain throughout the forearm. Luckily, this is normally a minor inconvenience that is easily healed in time, and there are many ways to prevent this and other common sports injuries. Being that tennis is a non-contact sport, major injuries are very uncommon. 

Olympic Weightlifting

All kinds of weightlifting have the potential for serious injury but Olympic Weightlifting in particular has a bad reputation. Olympic weightlifting and powerlifting are sports where you put your body through extreme stress to lift the most weight possible. Training in the lead up to matches can be grueling and at the highest levels of competition, this is one of the most demanding sports there are. 

Neck and spine stress is very common and can turn into long-term injuries if not immediately cared for. While doing motions like squats or deadlifts, your spine is taking extreme pressure from being loaded with weight. In Olympic weightlifting, motions like “the snatch” and “clean-and-jerks” are practiced dozens of times each session. The motion of lifting the bar above your head can cause damage to your shoulders and rotator cuffs. Luckily, most of these issues can be avoided by always using proper form and practicing with weights you are confident with.

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