What are Football Injuries?
American football, a very popular contact sport, is one of the leading causes of school sports injuries in the US. The injuries that occur as a result of the high-impact and repetitive nature of football are known as football injuries.
Common Football Injuries
Some of the common football injuries include:
- Knee Ligament Injuries: The ligaments that surround and support the knee can be injured by rapidly changing direction while running, sudden stops or starts, falling on the knee, or a direct blow to the knee.
- Patellar Tendonitis: This is an injury to the tendon that attaches the kneecap to the shinbone. It is usually caused by excessive jumping and running.
- Ankle Sprains: The injury may occur due to twisting the ankle while making a hard cut, falling to the ground, or due to overuse. Achilles Tendon Rupture: Sudden stress on the tendon caused by pushing off of the foot with the knee in extension or smaller continuous stresses from excessive running may cause tearing or rupture of the Achilles tendon.
- Shoulder Injuries: Rotator cuff strains and shoulder labrum injuries can occur during tackling or collisions with other players.
- Hip Pointers: These are deep bruises caused to the bony ridge on the upper and outer aspect of the hip. They occur when the player has a hard fall or receives a direct blow to the hip.
- Shin Splints: Also known as tibial stress syndrome, the condition is characterized by pain in the front of the shinbone. Shin splints are usually caused due to excessive running or wearing improperly fitted or worn-out footwear.
- Foot Fractures: Excessive rotation of the foot or direct trauma to the foot while tackling can result in fractures of the slender metatarsal bones located in the midfoot.
- Muscle Strains: Quadriceps, hamstring, and groin strains can occur from making side-to-side movements or overextending the joints which can put a tremendous load on the muscles and tendons.
- Concussions: Football has a relatively high risk of concussions compared to most other sports. They usually occur during a tackle which causes the head to snap back and strike the ground.
Preventing Football Injuries
The risks of sustaining an injury while playing football can be significantly reduced by observing the following precautions:
- Maintain an adequate level of fitness with a balanced exercise program that includes resistance training, stretching, and aerobic activity in addition to sport-specific training.
- Always take the time to warm up your muscles and joints with light activity such as jogging in place or range-of-motion exercises.
- Wear properly fitted football gear including helmets, mouthguard, and padding.
- Use proper techniques such as tackling players with the head up rather than leading with the helmet to minimize the risk of concussions.
- Drinking plenty of water before, during, and after a game or training session to stay well hydrated and avoid muscle cramps.
- Get a pre-season physical evaluation to ensure you are fit enough to play the game.