Tips For Preventing Gymnastics Injuries
Over 25,000 gymnasts below age 15 and 100,000 adults are treated in hospital emergency rooms each year for injuries related to their sport. Many of these injuries are preventable, and both athletes and trainers can reduce the risk of these injuries by instituting safety measures and installing proper equipment.
Lowering the Risk of Gymnastics Injuries
• Go to a doctor for medical assessment before starting
gymnastics training. The physical exam will gauge your
child’s fitness for the sport and determine any special
injury risks he or she may have.
Athletes At Risk
Over 600,000 US children participate in academic-related and club-level gymnastics with millions of others around the world. Children from the early age of 4 or 5 years old, these young gymnasts train for very long hours each day. The rigorous physical training and the difficult manoeuvres inherent in gymnastics make it a high risk injury sport. A study conducted among secondary school athletes placed gymnastics in the fourth place as one of the chief causes of sports injuries. In club-related gymnastics programs, an injury rate of 22% was also noted.
Fractures, sprains, and strained muscles and ligaments count for being among the most frequent of gymnastic injuries. Most often involving the ankles and the knees, these injuries are caused by hard landings and improperly executed dismounts. Lower back injuries are also prevalent. Although most gymnastics injuries are rarely, if ever, critical, most of them lead to chronic pain and bone fractures in young athletes, which more often than not, become long-term afflictions.
The innumerable bends, twists and landings performed during the floor exercises rate highest in causing injury. In addition, foregoing the use of safety harnesses, not using spotters, over-fatigue and excessively long practice hours also increase injury risk.
Eating disorders like anorexia, nervosa or bulimia are
among the serious problems faced by female gymnasts. The
constant pressure to maintain a certain body weight and
mass can lead to improper diets which deprive growing
bodies of the basic nutrients needed by young athletes.
Because of poor eating habits, studies have shown that
low bone densities in female gymnasts were the leading
cause of stress fractures.