Injury trends in sports
It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt
It seems every time someone turns on the television or opens the sports section, there is a new story describing how someone, or something is poisoning the pure waters that we call sport.
A nightclub brawl here, a banned substance scandal there and even murder seems to becoming part of our everyday vocabulary.
Athletes are treated like celebrities, and what’s worse; they are starting to act like it.
No longer is the mindset of the athlete about the love of the game, rather, the love of the lifestyle and the love of the fame; the love of the money.
But these examples are not near the largest problem facing sport today. The biggest problem facing sport today is fear. Fear of injury to be specific.
There has been plenty of discussion pertaining to the safety of the NHL and its players, in regards to fighting and headshots in general. Oct. 1, in the NHL’s season opener between the Montreal Canadians and the Toronto Maple Leafs, Colton Orr and George Parros fought twice. Parros missed a punch that caused him to fall overtop of Orr and hit his face against the ice. Parros was wearing a helmet, but it failed to protect the front of his head as it met the ice. Parros received a concussion on the play, and had to be carried off the ice on a stretcher. He was then taken to hospital in Montreal.
According to NHL.com, the enforcer is still out indefinitely. The incident sparked debate on whether there is a need to have fighting remain in the game.
Former Detroit Red Wings captain and current General Manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Steve Yzerman, had this to say.
“I believe a player should get a game misconduct for fighting. We penalize and suspend players for making contact with the head while checking in an effort to reduce head injuries yet we still allow fighting.”
Yzerman’s comments make a strong point. Headshots are dangerous and a concussion is a very serious injury with long-term effects that can be dire. But every time the debate comes up, it’s not the enforcer, the one taking the hits, who is giving an opinion. It’s the guy watching from the media booth-The “expert” on television who has never taken a hit in his life.
People are so afraid of someone getting injured, that they fail to look into what the game will look like without fighting. Say what you want, but fighting serves as a deterrent to more dangerous actions on the ice. It holds players accountable for their actions. It says, “If you’re going to throw a cheap shot, you’re going to have to deal with the consequences.” And those consequences are a fight. Two people squaring off. It’s fair, it’s just, and both players know what is coming. Without fighting, the only way to settle the score for a cheap shot is just that, another cheap shot.
But it’s not just professional sports where fear of injury wreaks havoc. Parents are keeping their children from joining organized sports for fear thry are too dangerous. Children are being kept indoors because there is a risk of a broken bone or a sprained ankle. According to www.publications.gc.ca, there has been a steady decline of 17 per cent over the past 18 years in sport participation in Canada amongst the nation’s youth.
Yes, in today’s world there are far more distractions that keep kids off playing surfaces, one of the main reason kids don’t play sports is because parents would rather their kid be safe in front of a television, than outside playing soccer at the local park.
According to Dan Ralph of The Canadian Press, a study conducted by Hockey Canada and Bauer Hockey inc. revealed that a major reason that children were not signing up for hockey was because of, “safety concerns”.
Every parent has safety concerns about what their child does, and so they should. But to completely put sports on the back burner of a child’s life for a fear of something that hasn’t happened is malarkey. Having fear run our lives is no way to live and participation in sports betters us in so many ways. It builds character, teaches us teamwork and hard work. It builds confidence and keeps us healthy. It also teaches us how to fall and more importantly, how to get back up.
As sport enthusiasts, it’s up to us to keep pushing past our fears. Lets face it, people get injured playing sports. It happens every day. It comes with the territory. But that doesn’t mean we have to change the games we love to play, or worse, avoid them all together. I don’t fear getting injured when I step out on the ice.