INTERVIEWEE - Dr. Amr Farag - Physiatrist
Canadian Specialist Hospital

Sports Injuries – Prevention and Cure

Dr. Amr Farag is a specialist physical medicine and rehabilitation (Physiatrist) at the Canadian Specialist Hospital, Dubai. His main areas of expertise are in neurological rehabilitation (following spinal cord injury, stroke, traumatic brain injury, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, peripheral neuropathy, myopathy), orthopaedic rehabilitation (following trauma, arthroscopic surgeries, joint replacement) and rehabilitation of sports associated injuries.

1. Young people in schools and colleges – suffer from sports related injuries. Why is this becoming so common?

Children and adolescents increasingly participate in competitive sports, resulting in a higher incidence of acute and overuse injuries. Injuries related to sports participation fall into two types of trauma: micro (due to repetitive trauma) and macro (due to a single traumatic event). Overtraining and exposure to excessive levels of physical activity in children and adolescents can present an increased risk of sports injuries. Certain intrinsic factors may predispose a young athlete to overuse injuries. Anatomic mal-alignments lead to abnormal stresses. Muscle strength imbalance can result in muscular strains and overuse. As noted previously, skeletal growth leads to tight musculo-tendinous units, which are, in turn, associated with muscle strains.

The most common sports injuries are sprains, contusions, knee injuries, muscle injuries, ankle sprains, tendinopathy and dislocations. Less common but more serious types of sports injuries includes fractures , cartilage and, ligament damage.

2. Is it due to our food habits which is calcium and vitamin D deficient?

Proper nutrition is vital for child and adolescent athletes to attain proper growth and perform optimally in sports. A well-balanced diet containing appropriate amounts of macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fat) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) is essential to provide enough energy for growth and activity. Fluids are also essential for hydration to support growth and athletic performance. Particular attention should be devoted to ensuring that athletes consume proper amounts of calcium, vitamin D and iron. Calcium is important for bone health, normal enzyme activity and muscle contraction. The daily recommended intake of calcium is 1000 mg/day for 4 - to 8-year-olds and 1300 mg/day for 9- to 18-year-olds. Vitamin D is necessary for bone health and is involved in the absorption and regulation of calcium. Current recommendations suggest 600 IU/day for four- to 18-year-olds. Athletes who train indoors (e.g, figure skaters, gymnasts, dancers) are more likely to be vitamin D deficient.

3. What care should be taken post injury?

A hasty return to sport with incomplete rehabilitation and without complete recovery can result in chronic pain, dysfunction, increased time away from sport which can last up to several months, and repeated injury to the same or different body parts.

4. What can students or anyone do to protect themselves from sports-related injuries (prevention of sports injuries in young athletes and students)?

Strategies and recommendations to reduce the risk and prevent sports-related injuries in young athletes:

-   Proper rest or time off from sports to give your body time to recover.

-   Proper nutrition.

-   Use the proper protective equipment or gears: should be right for the sport and fit properly, for instance supports or pads for neck, shoulders, elbows, chest, knees, and shins, as well as helmets, mouthpieces and face guards.

-   Appropriate fit and use of footwear.

-   Proper hydration: Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after exercise or play to avoid heat illness; wearing light clothing also helps. Coaches and trainers should reduce or stop practices or competitions when heat or humidity is high.

-   Increase flexibility by stretching before and after games and practice.

-   Strength training: conditioning exercises before games and during practice to strengthen the muscles you use during play.

-   Coaches and trainers should reinforce appropriate training frequency, intensity, and duration during the playing season. Incorporation of warm-up and cool-down phases for practice and competition.

5. What precautions need to be taken for an injury to heal faster? Can you give expert advice about how to contain and limit/reduce the impact of such injuries?

-   In case of acute soft tissue injury such as a sprain, muscle pull or tear, immediate first aid treatment can reduce pain, swelling, prevent complications and help you heal faster. Early “RICE therapy,” which stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation helps to control the initial inflammatory process and get the healing process started early.

-   Promptly seek medical attention to confirm the diagnosis, assessing the degree of injury and receive the proper treatment which might include: immobilisation, anti-inflammatory medications and rehabilitation.

-   Complete your physical therapy and rehabilitation program till full functional recovery with resolution of pain and inflammation, restoration of range of motion and restoration of strength.

More Interviews

Nivine Hanach
Clinical Dietitian

Why to stay away from fad diets?

See More...

Dr. Hussain Maseeh
Sector Expert, Social Development & Care Sector

Positive Psychology can protect against depression in children

See More...