Sent to us by Saam Banai. 

 Sporting events are a common source of injuries, and neck injuries are common in sports involving significant impact. In more serious cases, they can lead to paralysis, or death. Preventing neck injuries is important, but it is also more difficult than preventing other types of neck injuries.
The Nature of Neck Injuries

Neck injuries while playing sports can occur in various ways and with different levels of severity. Blows to the head and severe trauma are not the only sources of neck injuries; overexertion and even compression can also cause injury.

Overuse can lead to a strained or sprained muscles or muscle spasms. In these cases, the ligaments and muscles stretch excessively; ligaments will usually stretch and the muscles will tear. Such injuries usually manifest themselves as a feeling of fatigue or dull aching, followed by gradually increasing pain levels as the muscle is used. In the case of a spasm, the muscle involuntarily contracts, causing brief pain.

These injuries are common. Fortunately, these injuries are easy to resolve. When a muscle or ligament is causing problems, the best solution is to avoid aggravating the injury, keep use of that muscle or ligament to a minimum, and take a pain reliever. With time, these injuries normally heal on their own. These injuries rarely cause serious long-term problems.

Excessive force applied to the neck can cause more serious injuries. Impacts can cause nerve damage, respiratory problems, and even broken or fractured vertebrae. Treating a neck injury caused by a specific blow to the neck is a serious matter. Athletes who suffer nerve damage, damaged vertebrae, or damage to the windpipe should consult a local medical professional.  In some cases, where there has been significant damage to the body or financial loss due to the misstep of another, our personal injury attorney in Atlanta Georgia suggests that legal advice be sought.  

Playing Sports

Avoiding neck injuries from overuse is a relatively simple affair. The athlete should not overuse the muscle. Avoiding overuse becomes easier if the athlete warms up beforehand; adding simple neck-stretching exercises to a warm-up routine is a simple and effective way to prevent excessive neck strain.

With the pressures of team sports and competition, athletes will often play through injuries. Athletes who choose to play through minor muscle injuries should ensure that they are getting enough protein, as protein will help muscles recover more quickly from excessive strain.

Avoiding physical injury is more challenging. Protective gear is the obvious choice to prevent physical injury. In some cases, gear used for neck protection can be valuable. A neck brace can prevent the head from violently thrashing back and forth, causing serious neck injuries, and also prevent contact with fragile body parts.

Unfortunately, neck braces restrict the athlete’s ability to look up and down; hence, neck braces are rarely seen outside certain sports, such as automobile racing. If the athlete has the opportunity to wear a neck brace, he or she should do so. To avoid serious long-term damage from impacts to the neck, athletes should avoid repeat injuries and not take unnecessary risks when it comes to excessive neck movement.

Preventing neck injuries while playing sports can be difficult, as most sports make it difficult to protect the neck from physical injury. Athletes should stretch before games and intense practice sessions to prevent the tearing of muscles and ligaments that would otherwise be tense.  Eliminating the possibility of a neck injury is impossible, but athletes can reduce the potential for them to occur. 

Saam Banai is a freelance writer, editor, and sports enthusiast. He contributes this article for Buddoo & Associates P.C., a personal injury attorney in Atlanta Georgia who deals with personal injury cases of all sizes, which are often settled to the clients benefit before trial. Using over a decade of experience, they devote themselves personally to each client, each case and each accident victim with professionalism and care.