Americans suffer over 8.6 million sports injuries annually. This works out to about 35 injuries per 1,000 people. Sports and recreation are also two of the most common causes of child injuries, affecting over 3.5 million children every year.
Here is an overview of how sports injuries happen and when you can seek compensation for an injury suffered while participating in a sport.
How Do Sports Injuries Happen?
Sports injuries can happen in many different ways, including:
You can get injured when another player or a spectator intentionally tries to harm you. A player could deliberately collide with you or hit you with their equipment. A spectator could throw objects from the stands that hit you or cause you to trip or slip on the playing surface.
Under stress, your muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones can develop small cracks and tears. With rest and proper nutrition, your body heals this damage. As part of a workout regimen, this process of breaking down and healing causes you to build strength and flexibility.
But when you do not take the time to heal between workouts, the damage will accumulate. Instead of healing, the cracks and tears will propagate, leading to overuse injuries.
Hyperextension happens when your body gets stressed beyond its normal capacity. The stress on your body can tear soft tissue like cartilage, ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Hyperextension injuries often result from a traumatic event such as a fall, a sudden change in direction, or a collision.
Heat and cold can damage your body. Overheating combined with dehydration can cause heat exhaustion. If left untreated, this can become a heat stroke, a potentially fatal condition.
Cold temperatures can also injure your body by causing frostbite and hypothermia. These conditions might lead to amputations or even death.
Blunt Force Trauma
Blunt force trauma occurs when you are injured by an object or surface that does not leave an open wound. The most common causes of blunt force trauma in sports include collisions and falls. Blunt force trauma can cause bruises, bone fractures, and brain injuries.
Penetrating trauma happens when an object pierces your body, leaving an open wound. For example, falling while rock climbing can result in penetrating trauma if you fall onto a sharp rock or sharp climbing equipment. Penetrating trauma often causes bleeding and soft tissue tears. These injuries can also become infected.
What Are Some Examples of Sports Injuries?
Sports injuries can take many different forms. Some examples of sports injuries include:
Strains and Sprains
Muscles give your body strength and move your body, and tendons anchor muscles to your skeleton.
Strains happen when you stretch or tear tendons or muscles. Hyperextension is a common cause of strains.
Some common symptoms of a strain include:
- Muscle stiffness
- Muscle spasms
Ligaments hold your bones together and give your skeleton structure. They also give your joints strength and flexibility to bend without allowing the bones to separate.
Symptoms of a sprain include:
- Joint pain
- Joint inflammation
- Popping sound or feeling during the injury
Sprains and strains usually heal without surgery in four to six weeks. You will probably need to rest and take anti-inflammatory drugs to avoid re-injuring yourself.
If you suffer a severe strain or sprain, you may need surgery to repair the torn tissue. If you require surgery, you may need up to a year to recover.
Your doctor will probably prescribe physical therapy as part of your recovery plan. Physical therapy helps you regain function in the injured area and build up the muscles around the injury to prevent re-injury.
Your joints include tough, smooth layers of cartilage along the surfaces of the bones that cushions the joints and allows the bones to move smoothly.
This cartilage can tear during sports. It can heal, but very slowly. Depending on the location of the injury, doctors might operate to clear torn cartilage floating in the joint.
When you play sports, you can also dislocate a joint. This happens when one of the bones in a joint moves out of its normal position. A dislocated joint can cause pain as the dislocated bone presses on nearby nerves. While a physician can reposition the bone, such an injury can take three or more months to heal completely.
When bones get stressed beyond their material strength, they fracture. They can also develop stress fractures from repetitive stresses.
Doctors treat most bone fractures by realigning the bone and stabilizing the break with a cast or brace. Severe fractures might require plates and screws to hold the bone together while it heals.
Bone fractures heal in about six weeks with rest. In some cases, bone fractures can cause complications like nerve damage and arthritis in the injured area.
Your skull contains cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) to cushion your brain. A concussion happens when your brain moves so violently that the pressure from the CSF causes mild brain damage.
Wearing a helmet can reduce your risk of a concussion. But you do not need to suffer head trauma to get a concussion. The shaking your brain suffers in a fall or a collision can cause a concussion even if you do not hit your head.
This damage can lead to inflammation, which can, in turn, lead to a range of physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms, including:
- Memory loss
- Emotional outbursts
Concussions usually clear up on their own in two months. Occasionally, a post-concussion syndrome will cause concussion symptoms that last longer than two months.
How Do You Get Compensation For a Sports Injury?
In many cases, you cannot seek compensation for a sports injury. When you engage in sports and recreational activities, you assume the risk of ordinary injuries that result from the activity.
But when someone else’s actions caused your injury, you can often pursue compensation. For example, if another player intentionally hurt you, the player’s behavior might constitute an assault. Similarly, if the equipment or playing facility was dangerously defective, you might have a product liability or premises liability claim.
To discuss the compensation you can seek for your sports injury, contact an attorney from Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents for a free consultation at (817) 420-7000.