A recent statistic made me think about why there are so many injuries. For example there were 116 major league baseball players on the disabled list on the first day of the season. Is this reasonable?
With my expertise in the area of sports biomechanics and kinesiology I believe there is no legitimate reason for so many injuries to so many teams. It is “not part of the game” as many coaches like to believe.
In fact, I have found that it is possible to train and compete with no to only a few injuries occurring, except for the occurrence of contact injuries. But even here the number of injuries can be minimized. This has been proven in practice and applies to all major sports.
To prevent injury most teams limit the amount of playing, especially with youngsters. They also give the athletes more time off for rest and recuperation. However, even with these practices, the number of injuries is increasing.
I have identified two factors which I believe are the cause of injury and the key to effective rehabilitation after an injury has occurred. They are: technique and strength of the muscles involved.
Technique refers to how the sports skill is executed. It refers to execution of all of the joint actions involved, how they occur, the sequence in which they occur, and the biomechanical effectiveness of each joint action.
To my knowledge this is not done on any team. If it were done, coaches would be able to determine not only how well the skill is executed, but if any joint action would lead to injury. It would also indicate which joint action could be improved to enhance technique which in turn, would lead to improved skill performance.
Strength refers to strength of the muscles that are involved in execution of the skill technique. In other words how strong are the muscles involved when they are tested in the same manner as they are used in execution of the skill. However, if technique is unknown or not understood, is it impossible to test the strength of the muscles as are involved in execution of the skill.
Because these two factors are usually not taken into consideration in the training of an athlete is understandable why injuries occur. Executing a skill in a manner that leads to injury will not be corrected in time nor will the muscles involved be strengthened in the specific actions needed.
Written By Dr. Michael Yessis, PhD
Professor Emeritus, CSUF
President, Sports Training Inc.