Walk it off. Push past the pain. Keep playing. Most athletes train themselves to overcome a certain amount of pain in order to keep playing their sport. High risk action and intensity in sports is becoming more and more of a problem. Concussions, spinal injuries, fractures, and various organ failures are among the injuries that can occur in professional and entertainment sports.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, professional athletes were among five occupants that had more than 1,000 injuries per 10,000 workers and athletes and sports competitors suffer more than 2,000 injuries per 10,000 workers. This means that the line of work that players and athletes enter into is becoming increasingly dangerous and possibly fatal.
In November, MMA fighter CJ Hancock, 32, reportedly died in the cage and had to be revived by paramedics. During the fight, at the Legacy Fighting Alliance event at Arena Theatre in Houston, Hancock’s heart stopped beating and his kidneys failed. While Hancock is not sure why it all happened, he did say he was struggling in training to meet the weight limit required of his sport. Hancock is no longer allowed to fight, according to New York Daily News.
It is stories like this that give athletes pause to think about the safety of their sports. Annika Pollard, a junior on the John Brown University women’s soccer team, said sports are definitely more intense nowadays.
“We have more science and technology that allows for athletes to train better and for longer periods, perpetuating a drive and a lifestyle that simply wasn’t attainable in the early periods of professional sports,” Pollard said. Even “brands like Adidas and Nike have been known to produce ads that ‘glorify the grind’ and make being intense at all times in your sport, the ideal.”
Experienced athletes live with the realization that serious injuries can sideline them, especially if an athlete was raised playing more intense sports. With this realization of possible injuries comes a need for a better safety net.
While professional, college and even high school sports and under have put in place requirements to keep players safe, the rising intensity of sports over the years has increased the possibility of injuries and long-lasting damage to the players themselves.
Pollard said there are multiple rules put in place for the women’s soccer team to decrease injuries related to physical contact. As well as rules during the games, there are rules put in place during practice to keep players safe.
“In practice, we have rules in place for specific players to keep them from getting hurt,” Pollard said. “For example, I can’t head the ball because I’ve had six concussions. Other girls can’t shoot because of knee problems, or do specific weight room things because of shoulder injuries, etc.”
“As I’ve gotten older, sports have definitely become more intense because the stakes are much higher and the players are much better. The time commitment is more, the physical commitment is more, and the emotional commitment is more,” Pollard said.