common injuries of american football
American Football is a game in which you need a lot of strength and energy. Eleven people run along a large field measured in lines every 5 yards. The scoring place is called the end zone. The ball looks like a large brown lemon with shoe laces (I hope I don’t get tackled for that). Each team has to score points by passing and kicking the ball to the end zone (technically, you don’t have to, but it’s a good idea). Tackling and blocking are important moves (except on your little sister) and football players wear lots of padding and protective gear (so don’t confuse a football player with a ballet person). Football is the favorite sport in the U.S.A. (that’s why your local pizza parlor is always crowded on Super Bowl Sunday) Other sports just don’t match up to it (you can go to your local Sal’s or Papa Gino’s in peace in the hockey season, for example). This is football. (By the way, can you spare me some pizza and a coke so I can come over and watch the Super Bowl?)
Knee injuries are common in football. Usually injuries are to the ACL or the MCL. Meniscus tears are common with both of these types of injuries, especially the ACL. ACL tears can sideline a player for months or longer.
Concussions are common in football. About 40,000 high school students suffer concussions every year. Symptoms of a concussion would be confusion, short term memory problems, and loss of consciousness. Remember, a concussion does not always involve loss of consciousness (fainting). Concussions are caused by blows to the head.
Sprains and strains are very, very, very common in football. These are best treated with RICE. Ankle sprains are very frequent.
Achilles tendonitis is a very painful condition of the tendon in the back of the ankle. If it is left untreated Achilles tendinitis can lead to an increased risk of Achilles tendon rupture.
Fractures are also frequent. The fingers, wrists, and legs are the most commonly fractured.
Turf toe is an unusual case. Running or jumping on a hard surface, such as artificial turf, causes turf toe. The injury is to the big toe.
The condition called burner or stinger is quite frequent in football. They are caused by either stretch or compression of the brachial plexus. Burners cause pain shooting down the affected arm.
Spinal injuries are not all that common, but when they happen they are widely publicized. These are seen in all levels of football. They almost always happen when defensive players are in the act of tackling.
Here are some tips to help keep you safe:
- always, always, always stretch and warm-up before playing, whether it be practice or a game.
- have proper fitting equipment, comfortable shoes, helmet, shoulder pads, etc.
- always have a first aid kit on hand and be able to use it for minor injuries
- have good sportsmanship, just play to have fun, don’t take it too seriously
- don’t aim to seriously hurt people
- if injured, ask a doctor’s or trainer’s opinion about how to stretch, when to be able to go back on the field, what protective gear to wear, and listen to them
- make sure you have proper instruction on new skills