April 20, 2016
Injuries occur as a result of all types of incidents and conditions, from car accidents on Calgary's roads to trips on Calgary's sidewalks to hazards in local Calgary businesses. For Alberta's youth athletes, sports-related injuries account for nearly a third of their total injuries, placing a significant burden on Alberta's healthcare system and potentially affecting those injured for the rest of their lives.
New research suggests that many of these youthful sport-related injuries can be prevented, which has important implications for the healthy of Calgary's young athletes—and perhaps some legal implications as well.
University of Calgary Suggests Better Warmups Reduce Injuries
In a paper recently published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers at the University of Calgary outlined the details of their study involving a more in-depth neuromuscular warmup for young athletes before engaging in games of soccer—a sport that requires a great deal of intense physical effort, and that accounts for many injuries for Alberta's young players every year.
"Injuries in youth sport and recreation are a significant public burden in Alberta," said the paper's senior author Carolyn Emery, PhD, of the Faculty of Kinesiology. "There is the immediate impact of injury preventing youth from participating in the sport which they love and they are at risk of re-injury and long-term consequences of injury including early osteoarthritis, weight gain and depression."
The study involved both male and female players ranging in age from 13 to 18 years old, with one group of participants trained in a warm-up program that included strength, agility, aerobic, and balance components, while the control group used a standard warm-up regimen of aerobic and stretching exercises only. Over the period of the study, the Calgary researchers found that injuries in the experimental group—the group using the more comprehensive warm-up routine—experienced a 38% reduction in injury rates!
Not only that, but healthcare costs associated with injuries in the experimental group were also cut, this time by 43%. That's a reduction of almost half! While more research will likely take place to substantiate and bolster the findings of this particular study, Calgary's youths are probably protected when they use a more extensive warm-up prior to engaging in sports or other intense physical activity.
Legal Implications of Changing Knowledge Regarding Injuries
This study alone isn't enough to set a legal precedent, but as the best practices for avoiding and preventing injuries changes in the sports industry, the duty of care owed by coaches and others involved in directing sports among Calgary's youths could grow. A coach that didn't use the widely-known best methods for warming up athletes could potentially be held liable for injuries suffered as a result of that failure to warm up, just as other professionals are held responsible for knowing and applying the best methods for preventing injuries in their own fields.
For now, we're just happy there's new knowledge that can prevent a sizeable number of injuries among Calgary's youths. And as always, if you'd like to discuss a serious injury you suffered in the Greater Calgary Area as a result of someone else's negligence, we're always here to help.
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