In the professional world, most sports are highly competitive, physically-tasking, and especially dangerous; some which are fast-paced and/or particularly dependent on player-to-player contact (such as American football or basketball) can, at times, bring the risk of player injury on the field to extreme heights. While injury is neither uncommon nor unexpected, it can pose a serious threat to the sporting careers of even the fiercest competitors. Injuries play a hefty role in professional sports leagues; if a valuable player is unable to play (or worse, forced to play while recovering) then the integrity of the whole team is weakened. More importantly, despite how tough or skillful a player may be, he/she is still a human being, and may suffer serious bodily harm and damage over a competitive game. To combat the dangers of the field, advances in healing and treatment techniques pertaining specifically to the realm of sports have been in development over the past several decades. Here are a few:
Magnetic Resonance Imaging – The “MRI”
In medicine, an MRI utilizes magnetic fields to conduct high-powered, relatively harmless scans at a subatomic level. It does this through effectively mapping the human body based on radio signals emitted by atoms. Because these scans are performed at such a small scale, their definition is quite high, and can be increased further still by increasing the strength of the magnetic field the MRI produces, making the MRI one of the most effective, state-of-the-art diagnostic utilities in modern medicine.
While not so useful in direct treatment of injuries, the significance of such a device in sports is still tantamount in sports. Why? Well, the gritty nature of sports makes it difficult to identify the specifics of an injury without detailed scanning technology. Through the power of an MRI, a player’s injury can be precisely declared and examined, making a course of action regarding treatment much more approachable. Not only that, but by refining the technology of and employing the MRI over time, patterns begin to develop between what injury exhibits which symptoms, and how the MRI depicts them both.
Preventative Education and Research
In sports, reducing the risk of injuries is just as crucial as treating them! Naturally, knowledge of a subject increases as it is studied, and experienced, and the same is true for sports. The most common form of injury across all sports is that of the ankle. Additionally, ankle injuries are primarily caused by taking a misstep, running improperly, or placing weight in a bad position – all mistakes related to self-error. By educating sports players in common causes and practices that lead to common, preventable injuries, the overarching influence of these injuries on sports is expected to go down. Among educational programs and studies, a popular technique utilized to reduce bodily strain and risk of damage during game time is a “warm-up.”
Cultivating an Awareness of Emotional Stress
Emotional damage is not necessarily as tangible as a physical ailment, but it can still cause serious harm to a player if untreated. Sports are competitive, and that is one of the reasons they are so enjoyable, but if the outcome of a game is riding heavily on your performance, the pressure to win can build up and cause psychological damage in players. Thus, coaches and team leaders, particularly in younger or recreational regimes, are increasing usage of positive reinforcement in motivating players to perform well and improve, as opposed to punishment or negativity. It is important to remember that, as intense as sports can get at times, the players are just human, too.