Sports injuries are usually caused by one of, or a combination of: overuse, over training, poor technique, poor preparation, poor timing, poor control and inadequate equipment. Perhaps inadequate preparation for a new training schedule after time off, lack of higher level work to encourage full recovery post injury, lack of recovery between sessions or just accidental damage as you run on muddy ground. There are different levels to returning an injured sportsperson to full fitness.
- Initially assessing the injury and treating the problem. In early stages this includes the RICE (relevant rest, ice, compression, elevation reducing inflammation), understanding what happened and why.
- The early phase is followed by phase 2 – gaining full pain-free range of movement and strength, improving proprioception and ensuring baseline goals are achieved. The sport specific training is next, ensuring that functional skills for a particular sport, are fully integrated and consolidated. These will differ from sport to sport; tennis, diving and cheerleading all have different requirements. This phase is also position specific; front row will have different requirements to hooker in rugby.
- Finally the end – stage rehab is to ensure player is fully able to return to sport – able to play a game, run a race fully fit and with no side-effects. With good rehab individuals can return to sport fitter than preinjury as they have had time to focus on improving fitness and working on areas of weakness.