When you think of injuries in college sports, you often think of big, violent events. A football player who takes a hard helmet-to-helmet hit on a kickoff return, for example, or a basketball player who tears his or her knee trying to block a dunk.
While these injuries can and do happen, often in dramatic fashion, one study found that simple overuse was the root cause of about 30 percent of all injuries.
The study came out in the scientific publication put out by the National Athletic Trainers' Association, known as the Journal of Athletic Training. Reports noted that low-contact sports, especially those with repetitive motions, were especially problematic.
Forget about that football player getting wrecked on a kick return for a moment. The emphasis of the study, then, is on things like tennis and distance running. In both, athletes train for a long time, doing the same thing over and over again. In running, the cumulative effect of all that pounding can be incredibly hard on the knees; in tennis, issues could be in the elbow or shoulder.
These are quiet, behind-the-scenes injuries. They're things that often go unnoticed and don't happen in front of crowds of thousands of fans. But they can be just as problematic for the athletes involved, leading to the need for surgery, rehabilitation, and many other expensive treatments.
For college athletes, who aren't even paid outside of their scholarships, the question of fault -- and who should pay for the needed treatment -- is important. Is the college at fault for allowing students to practice too much? Is the coach at fault for pushing the athletes too hard? Is the institution to blame for not providing proper equipment, facilities, or coaching? All of these are big questions that can help determine where the blame lies.
Students need to make sure they know their rights to compensation when someone else is to blame. Remember, just because an injury wasn't dramatic and immediate doesn't mean it couldn't have been avoided. Athletes bring in millions of dollars every year, putting their own bodies on the line for their schools, and they need to know they're protected when injuries happen.
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