College Athletes in Low-Contact Sports Have More Overuse Injuries

WEDNESDAY, April 18 (HealthDay News) -- Overuse injuries account for nearly 30 percent of injuries suffered by college athletes, and 62 percent of such injuries occur in female athletes, a new study finds.

Overuse injuries typically occur in low-contact sports that involve long training sessions or where the same movement is repeated numerous times, the Michigan State University researchers explained.

They looked at 573 male and female athletes in 16 team sports and found that they reported 1,317 injuries over three years. Male athletes had 705 injuries and female athletes 612 injuries.

Of all the injuries, 386 (about 29 percent) were overuse injuries and 931 (71 percent) were acute injuries. General stress injuries (27 percent) were the most common, followed by inflammation (21 percent) and tendinitis (16 percent).

Field hockey, soccer, softball and volleyball had the highest rates of overuse injuries.

"Overuse injuries may present not only physical challenges but also psychological ones that could significantly affect an athlete's recovery and performance," study co-author Tracey Covassin, a certified athletic trainer and a member of the kinesiology department, said in a university news release.

"Understanding the frequency, rate and severity of overuse injuries is an important first step for designing effective injury-prevention programs, intervention strategies and treatment protocols to prevent and rehabilitate athletes with these types of injuries," she said.

The study appears in the current issue of the Journal of Athletic Training.

-- Robert Preidt

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SOURCE: Michigan State University, news release, April 12, 2012