Upper And Lower Extremity Injuries In Sports Physical Education Essay

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This paper will look at the different types of injuries that occur in Icelandic Football, American Football and Tennis. It will compare the frequency of occurring injuries in the upper body extremities versus lower body extremities. Sports Injury refers to the types on injuries that can occur during a certain sport or vigorous exercise. Arnason, Sigurdsson, Gudmundsson, Holme, Engebretsen and Bahr (2004) claim that overuse is one of the most common risk factors for the occurrence and recurrence of injuries. Previous injuries and old age also highlight the most common risk factors for injury in athletics. In all three of the sports, lower extremity injuries occur most frequently. This paper will cover Arnason et al.'s research of injuries that occur during football (soccer) in Iceland, versus other injuries that are experienced in American Football and Tennis.

THE FREQUENCY OF OCCURRING Upper and Lower Extremity Injuries in Sports 3

There have been various amounts of studies done pertaining to certain types of injuries that occur during different sports. However, these kinds of injuries vary from sport to sport. A sport specific injury refers to the types of injuries that can occur during a specific sport or vigorous exercise. There can be different types of injuries. Most common injuries are muscle pulls, sprains, tears, and even bruises. Knee injuries are the most common injuries that occur in sports. Arnason, Sigurdsson, Gudmundsson, Holme, Engebretsen and Bahr (2004) claim that overuse is one of the most common risk factors for the occurrence and recurrence of injuries (Arnason et al., 2004). It is critical to understand these types of risk factors in developing preventative measures against these kinds of injuries. This paper will cover Arnason et al.'s research of injuries that occur during football (soccer) in Iceland, versus other injuries that are experienced in American Football and Tennis.

Arnason et al.'s (2004) first study came up with a variety of different factors that laid the foundation for injury occurrences. Their study was done on football (soccer) players from the Icelandic Elite League Teams. In football, injuries happen more frequently than a lot of other sports. The injuries can either be intrinsic and extrinsic, which are person-related and environment related respectively. Arnason et al.'s research indicated that the intrinsic factors tend to increase as a person gets older or the elongation of the athletes career. Another risk factor that could lead to an injury is if the athlete was previously injured. Extrinsic factors play a critical role too. A person is more prone to injury if they have a lack of specific training for the sport, or low training-to-match ratio (Arnason et al., 2004).


Arnason et al.'s study lasted four months during the 1999 football (soccer) season. Out of the 306 players that were involved in the study, 170 players experienced 244 injuries. Of the 244 injuries, 201 of the injuries were to the lower extremities. The most frequent area that experienced injury was the thigh region, followed by the knee, groin, lower leg and the ankle (Arnason et al., 2004). Muscle strains were the type of injury that occurred the most (Arnason et al., 2004). There were 45 ligament sprains that took place mostly in the knee and ankle region. Out of the athletes that were injured during practice or a match, majority of the athletes were older than the non-injured group and the amount of playing time also served as another a factor. Also, the athletes that participated more in training exercises were less prone to injury and vice versa. The players that obtained hamstring injuries at this time were older than the players that did not experience hamstring problems. Previous injury to the hamstring region also made a player prone to that injury once again. It is the same occurrence of events for all types of injuries. Overall, older athletes experienced more injuries than younger athletes.

Another study was held at Memphis State University from 1975 through 1979. Canale, Cantler Jr., Sisk and Freeman III, conducted a study with the MSU football team that lasted through five American Football seasons. American Football is considered a violent contact sport. Many injuries occur as a result of playing the game, and the position that you play. Coaching, conditioning, supervision, officiating, equipment and other various factors all play a role in whether an American Football player will become injured (Canale et al., 1981).


When an injury occurred, it was deemed as mild, moderate or severe. Mild injuries were defined as injuries that held an athlete out of one or a few days from practice and competition. A moderate injury or illness caused an athlete to miss between one and three weeks of practice and competition. Severe injuries or illnesses were defined as an injury that held an athlete out longer than three weeks (Canale et al., 1981). Knee injuries were once again one of the most common grievances that were experienced by the athletes. It was a known fact that if you played football you were destined to be injured. Out of the 265 athletes that participated in the study, the athletes experienced 283 injuries and had a 106.7% chance of becoming injured if they played for five years (Canale et al., 1981). If an athlete only played four years, he had a 99.1% chance of becoming injured.

Tennis is a sport where the injuries are unpredictable. They can occur anywhere. Lower extremity injuries occur twice as much as upper body injuries in this sport. Overuse is one of the most common injuries to young tennis players. Young tennis players lack the response to the overload put on the different muscle groups. Some examples are tennis elbow (tendinitis), muscle strains, and fractures (Bylak and Hutchinson, 1998). Even though most sports focus on the injuries that occur in males, females account for as many injuries as males do. Females tend to have more lower extremity injuries due to the fact that most females lack upper body strength. Young female tennis players due to decreased upper body strength will experience injuries more in the wrist and hand. Males experience more in the shoulder and elbow areas.



Arnason et al.'s 2004 study stated that previous injury was directly correlated as the most important risk factor. With these previous injuries, an athlete is more prone to experiencing the same injury again. Also with previous injury, age played a large role in determining whether the athlete will become injured. According to Canale et al.'s 1981 study, he hypothesized that if an athlete was to compete for four or five years of football at Memphis State University, one is bound to become injured. In this study, it focused more on the position, different techniques used, and coaching that played as factors for injury.

These two studies are related when dealing with playing time and training. Players that experience more playing time than others are susceptible to injury, while others that only get only a short amount of playing time are less prone to injury. In football (soccer), there were four injuries that occurred at a high frequency. Hamstring strains, groin strains, knee sprains, and ankle sprains highlighted the Icelandic sport. Knee injuries occurred most frequently in both sports. With American Football and Icelandic football being very high contact sports, the knee is vulnerable and susceptible to injury. Also, overuse was one of the risk factors for both sports. Players that train more and have proper conditioning are less prone to injury than those who don't have the proper conditioning. The results proved that lower extremity injuries occur more frequently in these sports than upper extremity injuries.