Every one of us who is involved in any kind of sports activity knows the challenges of being physically prepared. The reason is high intensity stress the body suffers due to running, jumping or diving. If you are not prepared well, an injury may occur. We will be taking a look at why, how and when athletes incur injuries, more specifically, we will be looking at why some footballers are injury prone.
Sports injuries primarily refer to injuries of the muscular-skeletal system. This type of injury can occur during sports or any other physical activity. Playing sports carries with it the risk of injuries that you need to be successfully recovered from in order to avoid additional complications. First of all, it is necessary to determine an accurate diagnosis of injury and later implement a plan and program of rehabilitation in order to strengthen the injured part/s. Acquisition of the knee, rupture of the muscles and inflammation of the tendons are just some of the injuries that can happen to an athlete.
Most Common Injuries & How They Occur
The most dominant injuries in sports relate to complications related to locomotor systems such as ligaments, joints, knees, tendons. Sports injuries can be the result of various causes such as improper training, poor equipment, and inadequate protective equipment. In modern sports, the rhythm of training and competitive activities is extremely strenuous and demanding, and this increases the possibility of severe or minor injury. Many athletes, including footballers are prone to injuries.
Sports injuries are divided into acute and chronic. Acute sports injuries occur due to the action of force that overloads the support of our body and leads to mechanical tissue damage. Tissues such as muscles, ligaments or tendons support the joints. Strengthening them can prevent injuries and makes footballers less injury prone.
Acute traumatic injuries that can occur are:
- Fracture, rupture or interruption of bone continuity
- Bruising, swelling or bleeding in a muscle or other part of the body caused by a direct hit
- Stretching, cracking or rupture muscle or tendon
- Sprain and dislocation, joint scratches or lacerations
Chronic sports injuries occur due to overload. They are a consequence of the frequent action of force during the constant repetition of the movement. This force is of a cumulative character, so at one point the body cannot withstand the effort and a burst occurs. Chronic sports injuries include various ligament injuries, tendon inflammation, inflammation of the tendon attachment to the bone and fractures that are the cause of constant recurrence of mechanical action on the bone. The easiest definition of chronic injuries is that they are the result of repetitive training and overload. Football is subject to this kind of injury and footballers are considered injury prone athletes taking into account the huge amount of stress their muscles endure.
What Types of Injuries are Footballers More Prone to?
Sports injuries can be divided into endogenous and exogenous. Endogenous tissue changes are caused by an overload and overexertion. Exogenous are created by the action of external forces. Sports injuries can be divided into both direct and indirect. Direct injuries occur in a collision with a mechanical force, in a duel of players, the collision of players, or when a player hits a post. This is the type of injury that footballers are more prone to.
Sports injuries can be thermal due to the effect of low or high temperatures or chemical due to the effects of lime which marks the terrains on which athletes perform.
What are The Factors That Make Footballers Injury Prone?
About 80 percent of football players’ injuries involve soft tissue injuries, while only 5 percent involve injuries related to fractures or dislocations. About 85 percent of football players’ injuries are located in the lower extremities. Sports injuries are in most cases minor but can have a large impact on competitive ability.
There is almost no football player who has not encountered any kind of injury during his career. However, there are players who get injured more often than others. A popular question is: what is the cause of this? There are a few tips that a player should bear in mind to reduce the risk of injury.
One of them is definitely a good warm-up before the start of training or a game. The athlete should do a warm-up that suits him, most often jogging or some kind of pocket that is needed for a game or training. The benefits of a good warm-up are multiple, as it increases blood flow to the muscles, delivers oxygen to the muscles, allows the muscles movement to be smooth, and increases the metabolic rate and nerve impulse speed. Due to a good warming up routine, the elasticity of the tissue increases, and in turn this reduces the possibility of tissue rupture. Muscle stretching and the range of motion are increased and the possibility of injuries is lessened. When warming up, it is recommended to get slightly sweaty, without fatigue. Through this habit, footballers can be more resistant and less injury prone.
Stretching should be done after warming up. It increases flexibility which leads to a reduction in the possibility of injury and muscle inflammation. It should be stretched to the point of increasing tension, but without pain. One of the most common causes of injury recovery in sports is inadequate warm-up and stretching. Athletes generally cannot wait for the game to start, so they often neglect this part, which is crucial for injury prevention.
Additionally, players who have already had injuries should pay attention to the use of protective equipment for the parts of the body which have already been injured. One of the causes of frequent sports injuries can be the use of inadequate sports equipment by athletes. It is very important that the equipment is adequate and tailored. The equipment must be specific for the sport in which the athlete is engaged.
The goal of warming up should be to start the circulation, raise the working temperature of the muscles and fire up the internal body mechanisms for an adequate level of oxygen consumption. When stretching, it is significant that the athlete performs full amplitudes of movement without sudden twitches. Often, these parts of the training, which include warming up and stretching, are skipped or shortened, leading to frequent and potentially long-term injuries. A tissue that has not gone through the warming up session and stretched, is not flexible enough, and this often leads to serious injuries in football players.
One of the most common reasons an athlete is often injured is post-workout rest. Rest is often neglected and has the same importance as a well-done workout. After physical activity, lactates are formed in the body and these places become vulnerable and there is a higher risk of injury. Depending on whether the athlete came to training rested, the risk of injury increases or decreases. Footballers are injury prone and a well-done rest can help in these situations. Recovery methods can be a massage that allows the circulatory tract to be cleansed and this the risk of injury is minimized, cryotherapy to stimulate the body and improve circulation, hyperbaric chambers that allow 100% oxygen to enter the athlete’s body and thus a speedy recovery is allowed. Other useful recovery methods are active recovery, regenerative training, contrast baths, compression stockings, corsets, stretching, rehydration, supplements and sleep.
Sleep & Diet
Sleep plays one of the most important parts in an athlete’s life. Every athlete should have a minimum of eight hours of sleep and should not go to bed after 11pm. Sleep plays an invariable role when it comes to restoring thermal balance and capabilities of the immune system. In order to be able to respond to training and competition tasks, an athlete must be rested.
In addition to sleep, diet plays a major role in reducing the chances of injury. Hard training leads to high energy consumption and that is why nutrition is of extraordinary significance. Moreover, tissue injuries occur due to inadequate replacement of glycogen storage, which causes the use of fat and proteins as energy sources. Tissue damage can also occur due to poor protein intake through the diet. Hard training leads to the consumption of amino acids and protein intake should compensate that. It is mandatory to take micronutrients such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc, as these reduce the possibility of injury.
The importance of rest and a diet plan speak in favour of the fact that an athlete must lead a healthy life. It is an unsportsmanlike lifestyle that is often the cause of frequent injuries. Skipping meals, eating fast food, an inadequate intake of vitamins and irregular sleep lead to the athlete’s body becoming unable to respond to challenges. Thus, all these factors inevitably lead to injuries. That is the reason why it is very important to pay attention to these segments. Following these tips reduces the risk of injuries and leads to the physically prepared athlete to be ready to respond to each task.
The psychological preparation of the players is necessary for every training or match. Appropriate mental preparation may reduce footballers’ injury prone level. Stress can lead to poor performance and increases the chance of injury. Additionally, lack of attention as well as lack of motivation lead to an increased risk of injury. It is very important that the athlete has his own psychotherapist, who assesses the current form and plans future activities. The athlete must be persistent and must have respect for himself/herself and his/her teammates.
Appropriate Training Workload
Many cite training overload as the main factor driving footballer injuries. Many athletes enter a strenuous training program very early in life; when their body is not yet formed to respond to such demands. This causes trauma in the body and eventually has great consequences on the athlete’s abilities and strength. Injuries occur frequently and therefore adequate training is very important. Overtraining is a very common occurrence today as the duration of an adequately dosed training session should not be longer than 1.5 hours and there must be rest days included. That is the adequate way to reduce the footballers’ injury prone.
Players with Their Careers Influenced Due to Being Injury Prone
Unfortunately, frequent injuries have cost many players better careers. Some footballers throughout their career were extremely prone to injury. One of them is definitely Kieron Dyer. The guy who was predicted to have a great career, unfortunately spent his whole career struggling with injuries. He had a terrible leg fracture in two places in the 2007/2008 season which led many to presume that he will end his playing days. When he returned 17 months later, he had a tendon injury that followed him for the rest of his career. After that, he had a foot injury in 2011, and finally he had a cruciate ligament injury. Definitely one of the most unlucky players whose career has been marked by numerous injuries.
Another player who had a serious injury that slowed down his talent is Owen Hargreaves. He was named England’s best player at the 2006 World Cup, but unfortunately suffered a severe leg fracture from which he never fully recovered. After a long recovery and returning to the field, he was diagnosed with severe patellar tendinitis. This footballer’s bright future was definitely ruined by being injury prone.
Another one in a series of players whose careers have been marked by injuries is Michael Owen. When he appeared as a teenager, he delighted the world of football with his speed and chances realization. He had his breakthrough against Argentina at the 1998 World Cup in France. And many predicted that he would be one of the best strikers in the history of football. Yet, the list of his injuries since then is really too long. From injuries of the leg, tendon, ankle and groin, there was literally no injury that this young attacker did not have. It was such a shame, considering he had such a tremendous talent.
Other Injury Prone Footballers
Some of the other players whose careers have been marked by injuries are certainly Ledley King, former Tottenham captain, Michael Essien, former Chelsea midfielder, and Jonathan Woodgate, former Real Madrid defender. The frequency of injuries prevented them from showing much more and achieving what they deserved with their level of talent.