When you get injured doing sports or exercise, nothing is more important than giving your body time to recuperate. Unfortunately, not everyone follows this advice. Sometimes, people don’t realise the severity of their injuries, or are so motivated that they attempt to work through the pain. This can lead to severe consequences on their health, and not just in the short-term. Read all about why you shouldn’t do sports with injuries.
Not all injuries that occur while exercising are obvious. Of course, a sprained ankle that swells and hurts will unmistakably signal that you need to rest until the symptoms subside.
Other types of injuries go unnoticed, largely because they do not cause the same level of pain or obvious symptoms like bruising and swelling. On the other hand, sometimes people do experience pain, but do not attribute the cause to exercising, which can be equally as unhelpful.
It is important to know that ignoring sports injuries can have potentially serious consequences. One study, conducted by Safe Kids Worldwide, found that concussions and head injuries make up about 12% of sports injuries among children, with broken and fractured bones amounting for 13%. Sprains and strains made up the majority of injuries in the study, accounting for 37%.
The issue is that even a small head concussion can progress to second impact syndrome, which can lead to rapid and sometimes fatal brain swelling. Likewise, fractures and strains from sports injuries can lead to nerve damage and bone deformity.
Because even seemingly “small” injuries can have serious repercussions when ignored, halting your physical activity to allow your injury to heal is paramount. But how do you gauge the severity of your injury?
When we’re highly motivated and engaged in sports or exercise, underestimating an injury is unfortunately very common. Pro athletes in particular think they can push through the pain, especially when their job depends on it. The same thing happens to star youth athletes. A good example of this scenario is Nate Stein. Nate played American football for Trinity High School in Kentucky and was injured by a hit in the second quarter during a game in 2011. He merely noticed a pop, which he didn’t take seriously and simply kept on playing until the end of the game. Several hours later, he was admitted to the hospital where they found that he broke a vertebra.
There are plenty of similar incidents. There is the case of hockey player Brie Boothby who was struck on her head during a game in 2013. She also continued to play through the game, despite having blacked out for a short time. Later, she was diagnosed with permanent brain injuries.
If there is anything to take away from the above examples is that injuries should never be taken lightly.
Even professional athletes, trainers, and coaches are most of the time not qualified to recognise the severity of an injury, despite common belief. Trainers will sometimes underestimate an injury, allowing athletes to continue participating instead of getting them immediate hospital care. The previously mentioned Safe Kids Worldwide study reveals that almost 25% of trainers would not even able to recognise a serious injury as such. To make things worse, many parents of children in competitive sports often actively pressure the trainers to send their kids back in the game, despite injuries.
Nothing is worth risking your health and safety when you have a sports injury. If you get injured, even if it may seem trivial, the first thing you should do is stop whatever activity you’re participating in at once. Only a qualified medical professional can make a true evaluation of your injury and recommend an appropriate course of action. The doctor may give you the clear after an examination so you can safely go back to your sport with minimal risk. But under no circumstances should you ignore any injury. In the long run, this could end up making you permanently unable to participate in sports should the symptoms progress. Always put your health first and you should be back in the game in no time.