Football involves harder hits and more contact than any other sport played by high school and college athletes, so it’s no surprise that the most common football injuries are among the most serious. Football injury prevention starts with the proper protective gear, but physical therapy can help athletes avoid injury by building strength and muscle balance. Below, we discuss some of the most common football injuries that can be prevented and treated with physical therapy.
What is the most common head injury in football? Without a doubt, football concussions take the number one spot in terms of the sport’s head injury incidence. A direct or an indirect hit to the head can shake the brain against the skull—causing the mild traumatic brain injury known as a concussion. This can cause brain cell damage and chemical changes in the brain.
An active approach to treatment is key, and a licensed physical therapist can help! Concussion therapy can help to repair structures in the inner ear and connections to the brain with training exercises targeted to treat problems with vertigo, balance, focus, and motor skills.
Football players face a high risk of injuries to tendons in the knee. Meniscus tears and ACL/ MCL ruptures are likely to require surgery. With or without surgery, a comprehensive physical therapy rehab program is necessary for a return to pre-injury performance levels.
Shoulder dislocations are also among the most common football injuries, occurring when the humerus slips out of the shoulder socket (scapula). Dislocation can be partial or complete; either way, physical therapy is key for preventing another dislocation.
Due to the high-impact nature of the sport, muscle strains and bruises are some of the most common football injuries. A strain occurs when a muscle is stretched beyond its normal range of motion, or if the muscle is forced to bear a higher load than it has the strength to handle. Football players typically experience stains of the quad, hamstring, and groin.
Hip pointers are another common football injury. A deep bruise to the ridge of bone on the upper outside of the hip bone, they are usually caused by a hard fall or direct blow to the hip. Physical therapy is an effective tool for managing and treating pain and regaining strength.
Now that you know more about the most common football injuries, request an appointment—either in-person or virtually—at IMPACT Physical Therapy to learn more about football injury prevention. Whether you need concussion therapy, are recovering from surgery, or preparing for a new season, our team of licensed physical therapists can get you back on the field ASAP. You’ll find our clinics all across Chicagoland and in Champaign-Urbana, so reach out today!