Sports Medicine 1B: Injury Prevention

Sports Medicine
Career Pathway Course Units

Unit 1: Body Organization

Have you ever watched as a professional athlete has suddenly had to leave the game due to a serious injury, or even simply wondered why a particular movement just doesn’t feel quite right? We are about to take a deep dive into the various types of injuries that can occur in the context of sports and workout accidents. In order to understand what is happening in any injury scenario and, better yet, how to prevent injuries, we first have to explore the organization of the body’s general anatomy, the interaction of muscles and joints, and the body’s relationship with the space around it. Incidentally, we can also use this information to inform different aspects of sports performance, such as the best angles to kick a soccer ball or the power used in throwing a baseball.


Unit 2: From Muscle to Movement

Have you ever really thought about how you actually move? More than likely, you walk down the street without giving much thought to what goes into making your bones move. You know that bones come together to form joints, and ligaments hold those bones together. But, did you know that muscles attach to the bones that they want to move with a tendon, and as that tendon pulls the bone at its insertion, you move? In addition to the musculoskeletal system creating that movement, neurons must go to each and every muscle fiber to tell it to contract. This happens at a neuromuscular junction. We’ll take a close look at the intricacies of those contractions. There is a whole lot going on inside of muscles to create the movements you request, whether they are as simple as a walk down the street or as complex as hitting a homerun!

Unit 3: Injury Assessment

No sports medicine course would be complete without a discussion on injuries and their prevention. When people move vigorously, they stand a greater chance of hurting some part of their body. If an object is involved—such as a bat, ball, or beam—the potential for impact and thus injury is increased. Collisions with people, such as on a soccer field, basketball court, or football field, are bound to cause, at the least, bumps and bruises and can easily lead to dislocated bones, sprained ligaments, or strained muscles or tendons. Underlying conditions and overuse can lead to injury in even the least athletic of people. Understanding injuries and their complications help the practitioner determine what assessments and treatments can be done onsite and when to call in the “big dogs.”

Unit 4: Soft Tissue Injuries

All tissues are not made alike. In face, the soft tissues include all of the skin, fascia, muscles, and tendons in the face as well as everywhere else in our bodies. Have you ever wondered how, when you have a cut the skin turns into a scab, then a scar, and then back to your normal skin? Stick around, just like your platelets, to see how this happens. Together, we’ll learn more about different types of wounds and infections, and how to best manage them for your athletes or patients.

Unit 5: A Pain in the Neck

Have you ever wondered why a pain beginning at the back of your head seems to move into your neck and then down into your shoulders? Sometimes it feels like the pain is moving into your forehead. You don’t have to do much to cause this pain, and many people don’t even realize the little ways they hold their head or shoulders can cause the issues. It is true that nerves cause pain, but if you better understand how the muscles move the bones of the head and neck, you might alleviate nerve pain and prevent injury. Let’s take a closer look at the bones and muscles in the face, head, and vertebrae to determine the injuries that happen and how you might best assess the problem.

Unit 6: Chest & Abdomen Injuries

The chest and abdomen contain many of the body’s most vital organs. Protecting them should be a major concern for all athletes, especially those who play contact sports or who might fall from higher than a couple of feet. However, in the heat of the hockey game, the crux of the wrestling match, or the thrill of the double-twisting double-layout dismount on bars, the athlete may forget to protect their body while going for the win. When these situations happen, a professional is needed to assess the hit or the fall and the damage that resulted to the injured body. Before that professional gets their title, however, they need to know about a few very important organs in the chest and abdomen and their reactions when they are battered and bruised.

Unit 7: Upper Extremity Injuries

Sports injuries are common in the upper extremity. To determine what is hurt in a joint, a person must know the anatomy of the shoulder, elbow, and each of the finger joints. You might think that just knowing the bones and muscles would be enough to assess injuries and treatments. However, most of the injuries in the upper limbs occur to ligaments and tendons. These two stabilizing materials in the joints can be damaged in forceful actions and overuse. In addition, it is important to analyze the area of concern for nerve or blood vessel damage. Determining exactly what the issue is leads to a better treatment plan and, therefore, a more successful recovery.

Unit 8: The Lower Extremity

icture the World Cup soccer match. The defending champions are moving the ball down the field in the last seconds. The star forward is running toward the ball for a big kick when a defender comes toward him at full speed. The forward plants his left foot and twists, pulling his right leg back for the kick of his life. As he moves in the twisted position, he feels a pop and an intense pain and goes down on the ground. The defender swoops in to steal the ball. Our star forward is out with a torn ACL, a torn meniscus, and a dislocated patella. Playing a sport he loves may be over with this career-ending injury…or, with the proper assessment and treatment, he may be back on the field in a year or less!