13 Ways to Suffer a Preventable Sports Injury


Sports injuriesApril is Sports Injury Prevention Month. In April 2013, we talked about “Promoting Youth Sports Safety by giving 10 suggestions to help in that effort. In April 2012, we encouraged you to “Make Eye Safety Your Goal During Sports Injury Prevention Month.” Certainly, you’re well equipped with the information to keep sports safe and enjoyable.

This year, let’s look at the flip side of preventing sports injuries by telling you 13 ways to suffer a preventative sports injury and then explain why doing so isn’t the best choice.Raquetball_Player

  1. Leave eyes unprotected. Only 35% of those surveyed by the American Academy of Ophthalmology said they always wear protective eyewear when doing yard work or playing sports. Of the 40,000 eye injuries each year during these activities, more than 90% can be prevented with protective eyewear.
  2. Never warm-up or stretch. While the best method for warming up and stretching varies by individual and by sport, the need to do so exists for every athlete.
  3. Maintain a weak core. Every sport requires the use of core muscles, so it makes sense to strengthen those in order to improve in your sport. Maintaining weak core muscles also limits an athlete’s success.
  4. Ignore proper form. Most basketball injuries occur from players landing improperly on their feet. This is just one example of how learning proper form can help prevent common injuries.
  5. Let kids be kids. Sports injuries actually occur most frequently in children ages 5-14, and most of those injuries involve collisions. Perhaps forcing safety habits on kids isn’t such a bad idea.
  6. Only consider safety during games. Since there are more practices than games, it seems logical that more injuries happen during practices than during games. For this reason, always remember to practice safety so you can play safely.
  7. Skip skill levels. While challenging yourself is a good idea, going too far beyond your skill level isn’t. Know your abilities and challenge yourself sensibly.
  8. Ignore the rules. Rules bring organization to sports. They also serve to protect players. Ignoring the rules only brings chaos and injury.
  9. Refuse to wear safety gear. While preventing every sports injury is impossible, About.com says research suggests a reduction in injuries by 25% simply by taking preventative measures. These measures include wearing safety gear that is appropriate for your sport.
  10. Over-train & neglect recovery time. Athletes with the most injuries are also those with the most consecutive days of training without rest. Rest is as important to any athlete’s success as talent and performance.
  11. Play through pain & fatigue. Pain means there’s a problem. Fatigue leads to poor judgment. Both usually result in longer recovery from an injury or overuse than had you stopped and rested at the first sign of pain and fatigue.
  12. Be a weekend warrior. Neglecting regular workouts and then hitting your sport hard on weekends too often leads to injury and fatigue that puts you out of commission indefinitely. Instead, exercise consistently during the week and still enjoy weekend activities.
  13. Stick with just the ICE method for recovery. Instead, convert to the PRICE method for recovery. This method begins with protection from further injury along with restricting activity before moving on to applying ice, applying compression, and elevating.

The best way to continue enjoying your sport on the field rather than just on the sidelines involves employing habits to prevent injury. You’ll also find more success and longevity as an athlete when you make safety, prevention and common sense a part of your training program.

5 Reasons to Wear Protective Eyewear Around RC Aircraft

While the dangers of commercial helicopters are probably obvious with the possibility of debris getting into eyes, not to mention the dangerous blades whirling above the machine, the dangers of recreational or remote control helicopters may not seem as apparent. Even though remote control helicopters are not as dangerous Quadcopteras “real” helicopters, they still call for employing safety procedures and donning safety gear. Unfortunately, some simply view them as toys and fail to do what’s necessary to keep both operators and onlookers safe.

While no one wants to eliminate the fun, we must admit that mom was right when she said, “It’s all fun and games until somebody gets hurt.” And there are a lot of ways to get injured by remote control helicopters.

Before reviewing those ways, let’s first understand some of the “forces and velocities involved in a 30-size helicopter with average wood blades at 1800 rpm” as provided by Heliguy. First, each spindle, blade holder and nylon nut screwed to the helicopter must hold 270 pounds (122Kg) to keep the blades from flying away. And second, the tip speed of each blade is about 250 MPH or 413 KPH.

The force that the blades have is like having someone who can throw at about 50mph (81 kph) hit something with the tip of an 8 ft. (2.5m) ruler as hard as possible. If that something is a person, they would be in pain. The point being that the force of these blades, while not likely causing death, can do some serious damage. Heliguy also says to “remember, these statistics are for 30-sized helicopter blades. 60-sized helicopters are much more powerful, and their blades are considerably longer and heavier.”

While the strength of impact varies from one machine to the next, these numbers at least indicate a need to be cautious when operating and simply when near remote control helicopters.

Looking at this in a practical sense, what specific sorts of dangers can these types of forces present?

  1. Rotor wash: Air turbulence caused by a helicopter’s rotor can send flying debris into the air and likely into the eyes of the operator or nearby spectators. That is, unless eyes are properly protected.
  2. Inexperience: Quadcopters are very easy to fly for novice fliers, and most Quadcopters can hover automatically. Unfortunately, inexperience often leads to mistakes which lead to injuries. Making sure an operator isn’t flying a machine he isn’t ready for increases safety for both the operator and spectators.
  3. Location: Quadcopters tend to be closer to the operator than traditional RC aircraft, so the chance of being hit is increased. Also, some aircraft are made for indoor operation, which increases the chance of injuries like corneal abrasions (scratches to the surface of the eye).
  4. Adverse conditions: Outdoor weather conditions and malfunctions often lead to errors and accidents, especially when not taken into consideration prior to takeoff.
  5. Maintenance: Every landing, general use and even minor crashes put stress on aircraft that can lead to breakdown. While having a maintenance program makes logical sense and many pilots implement them consistently, they can get neglected as adrenaline from the excitement of the sport flows.

In addition to common sense, taking time to learn how to operate the aircraft, and making sure aircraft is properly maintained, wearing protective eyewear helps ensure that the most likely injuries don’t happen.

What’s the best option that doesn’t compromise style or comfort and take away from the enjoyment of the sport? And what options work best for indoor operation?

Goggles provide whole-eye protection by eliminating any space through which debris can make its way to eyes. Perhaps goggles aren’t your thing as you’d like to wear something a bit more fashionable. Then safety glasses with good wrap-around protection provide a solid alternative. Some are even available with a foam-lined lens, which provides protection from flying debris, similar to a traditional goggle. There are a lot of lens options as well that make wearing protective eyewear just as functional indoors as outdoors.

Taking time to plan for safety can keep the sport of flying remote control helicopters – and most other sports for that matter – safe and fun.

Eye Injury by Age Group

Eye InjuryProjectile objects and flying debris represent about 18% of all reported eye injuries, with blunt object injuries making up just over 13% of injuries. In third place comes injury caused by fingers, fists and other body parts (10%). And in fourth place at about 9% is injury from sharp objects such as a fishhook or glass shard.

In case you weren’t counting, we’ve just accounted for 50% of all reported injuries. The remaining 50% comes from a variety of causes including sports equipment, automobile airbags, paintballs, bb guns, pellet guns, furniture, household chemicals, firearms, and fireworks.

As reported in Who Is At Risk for Greatest Eye Injury? almost half of the 2.5 million eye injuries reported annually occur in individuals ages 18-45. Many of the same type of injuries, primarily the ones listed above, occur as much in the over-45 age group as in the 18-45 age group. But, less injuries occur overall in the older group probably due to increased caution and decreased activity and risk that usually accompanies aging.

The second largest age group (25%) receiving the most eye injuries are children. Even more specifically, older teens and young adults in their late twenties present the highest numbers of eye injuries. Of the total number of injuries, 73% of them are received by males.

While older teens and young adults represent the highest number, no one remains exempt from receiving an eye injury. The article Children Need Eye Protection Too details the hazards facing young children with regard to eye injury as well as gives measures for preventing injury in the first place.

So that leaves one group yet to cover with regard to risk for eye injury… the elderly. In this age group, falls cause the most eye injuries. More specifically, loss of balance resulting in falls.

Preventing injuries caused from falls starts with a visit to the doctor to address any health issues. Then, make sure an individual’s home provides sturdy support structures for moving about and that paths for everyday activities are safe and clear.

While we know that 90% of all eye injuries can be prevented using protective eyewear and that every home should have at least one pair of safety glasses, we need to realize that eye injury prevention also comes through making the environment itself safer as well.

This means realizing that most eye injuries take place at home and then doing what we can to prevent eye injuries in the home. This also means making sure the age of individuals in a home is taken into consideration and appropriate measures follow based on that information, especially when young children or the elderly are involved.