The Most Common Injuries in Combat Sports

Every sport comes with a risk of injury. In fact, there are about 1,500 injured at any time, per 10,000 athletes, making the professional athlete the most dangerous profession in the world. However, this is data from all sports combined. What about combat sports, sports in which your opponent comes at you with the full intention of causing you bodily harm.

Sure, all combat sports have some rules that are meant to limit the potential threshold of damage that you might receive. However, your opponents are still allowed to punch you in the head, kick your shin, strangle you, etc. In other words, the rules have this one limitation – due to it being a combat sport, to begin with.

Now, the common type of injury often depends on the rules and the nature of the sport. For instance, in boxing, hits below the belt are not permitted. This doesn’t mean that a knee injury is impossible, only that it’s less likely than in a sport where opponents are allowed to kick your knee. With that in mind, here are a couple of common injuries in combat sports and the normal recovery procedure.

1.      Concussions

Concussions are common in boxing and MMA. Now, there’s a misunderstanding regarding boxing punches. On the one hand, boxing gloves are more padded, which somewhat softens the blow, however, it has a negative effect that not a lot of people are talking about. Because the punch is somewhat softer, a boxer is able to endure more punches, which makes the accumulative damage a lot worse. In some of the worst cases, this can lead to permanent brain damage.

Other than this, punches to the face are known to cause cuts and even dental injuries. Therefore, people in combat sports, even those who regularly use mouthguards are in greater need of competent dental services.

2.      Knee injuries

Knee injuries are quite common in a lot of combat sports for a number of reasons. First of all, regardless if you’re getting licked in the knee, or if your knee is hitting a solid object (your opponent’s bone), you’re under a lot of risks. Now, the knee is a particularly tough area where accidents happen when you least expect them. For instance, even without the impact, the twisting and kicking of the knee can affect one’s ligaments. Treatment for this is surgery and a long period of rest (something that combat sports enthusiasts find particularly difficult to bear).

3.      Arm injuries

In wrestling, jiu-jitsu, and MMA fighting, the armbar is one of the most popular finishing moves. Now, if the opponent decides not to tap out if the referee doesn’t stop it in time, or the one holding their opponent in the armbar doesn’t react right away, an arm injury is imminent. Just think about it, the very point of the armbar is to immobilize the opponent and make them endure such immense pain that they need to forfeit. This kind of pain doesn’t happen for no reason. As soon as the fight is over, a medical checkup is necessary. In some cases, surgery will be necessary in which case one might need to stay away from any competition for several months.

4.      Fracture

Fractures are quite common in any sport where there’s kicking and punching. Even in boxing, where there are no kicks, fractures of a nose or an orbital bone are known to happen. Also, because of their heavier (more padded) gloves, boxers put more force into their punches. Now, while the padding is thick, it’s not impenetrable, and hand fractures are a possibility. In MMA, the amount of protection is limited, which is why arms, elbows, hands, and shinbones are fractured all the time. Wearing a cast, sometimes even pins, screws and rods might be necessary.

5.      Dislocations

These injuries are known to happen in all types of combat sports, even though grappling sports pose a much higher risk for this kind of injury. The most likely area to dislocate is your shoulder. Why? Well, because it moves in several directions. This means that the dislocation can happen forward, backward, or downward. It can also be either complete or partial. In order to treat it, you need to have it rest, apply cold than heat, and limit the range of motion for the time being. These injuries are known to be quite painful. This is why some people suffering from them were known to resort to pain relievers.

In conclusion

At the end of the day, accidents happen and it is impossible to predict all the outcomes, risks, and possibilities. Nonetheless, people who are committed to combat sports already know all the risks. Even without the major injury, athletes in combat sports will be full of bruises, soreness, and in constant pain. This is why getting familiar with different types of treatment and getting in touch with medical professionals is a good idea.


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