Did you know there are roughly two million sports-related injuries high school athletes endure every single year? While statistics aren’t as clear in adult and professional sports (largely because there are so many different kinds of sports), the NFL alone reported more than 150 concussions during the first half of the season six years ago.
The truth is athletes risk getting injured every time they participate in organized sports. The question is – what happens when you get injured? How do you stay in shape? Is training around injuries safe?
What Type of Injury Do You Have?
Whether or not training while injured (or around your injuries) is a safe option for you largely depends on what type of injury you have in the first place. For the most part, your injury is going to fall into one of three categories. It is going to be acute, sub-acute, or chronic.
Acute injuries are injuries that occur – and are obvious – almost immediately. A few examples of an acute injury include tearing a muscle, breaking a bone, or getting a sprain. These type of injuries tend to occur because of poor nutrition, lack of warming up, not stretching properly, and sometimes just pure bad luck. Acute injuries tend to be serious and a significant amount of training is only going to make the injuries worse.
A sub-acute injury is not an injury that everyone is immediately aware of as it can take a while to build up into something you notice. Muscle tears and muscle strains that progressively get worse are two examples. Sub-acute injuries are frustrating to athletes because training through them is possible, but you may not be able to reach the intensity level you had before.
A chronic injury can be devastating to an athlete’s career. Tendonitis, a spinal injury, or a rotator cuff injury are examples of this type of injury. Chronic injuries are the only injury that completely benches an athlete for some period of time – or forever in extreme cases. With a chronic injury, you need to receive medical care and possibly even surgery. Training with a chronic injury will almost always make the injury worse.
Age is a Factor
As an athlete, it is important to remember that recovering from a sports related injury tends to become more difficult with age as older muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints will need more time to recover.
Training around injuries can be an option as long as you are careful to avoid pushing yourself and stop if it starts to hurt. You should, however, take a close look at why you were injured in the first place and see if you could have done something differently to prevent the injury from happening. While preventing all sports injuries is not possible, statistics do show a large portion of sports injuries could have been prevented. If ever in doubt, see your doctor!