Sports Injury Lab Explores Ways to Keep Athletes Safe

What can researchers learn about preventing sports injuries through studying injured athletes?

Brown University’s unique Sports Injury Lab is looking for ways in which athletes can prevent injuries by studying the injuries of its students and others.  According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), nearly 30 million children and adolescents participate in sports, and over two million are injured annually.  Sports injuries at the college level can potentially devastate a budding athlete’s career and even leave a student with lasting physical impairments. With so many sports injuries occurring annually, Brown University’s Sports Injury Lab has set one of its missions on reducing the rate of sports injuries through research.  Our Rio Rancho personal injury lawyers discuss the research being done at this sports injury center and how it might help keep players safe below.

A New Approach to Preventing Sports Injuries

Brown University’s Sports Injury Lab is one of few research labs studying sports injuries in the U.S.  Whereas many institutes focus on treatment, not a lot of labs are delving into prevention of injuries in the first place.  The research team uses epidemiology work to look at the incidence of sports injuries and in turn find risk factors for injuries.

Recently, the Sports Injury Lab published an article on upper extremity injuries in high school and college soccer players.  While lower extremity injuries are more common in soccer, when upper extremity injuries happen they are often quite severe. In writing the research piece, the team examined data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, which catalogues emergency room data from across the country.  They found that in a 17-year period, twenty percent of soccer injuries involved the upper body and they included fractures and dislocations. Knowing the prevalence of certain injuries in a sport can then help coaches to eventually prevent like injuries.

The team has also researched boxing injuries in the United States.  Boxing injuries were previously not reported until 2011, so the team’s research into past and current injuries was much needed.  The study revealed that boxing injuries have decreased since USA Boxing implemented new rules in 2013 in an effort to increase the safety of the sport.  This lends positive credence to the notion that rule changes can have a real impact on sports injury rates. Research at intuitions like Brown will hopefully lead to progressive changes in sports rules at the youth, high school, college, and even professional levels.

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