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5 Hardest Sports on Our Bodies and Their Long-term Impact

5 Hardest Sports on Our Bodies and Their Long-term Impact

For many around the world, including Americans, sports are more than just a pastime. They generate billions of dollars and have fan bases that are large and loyal. From a child to a teenager, to young adults, and even mature adults, sports have a place in the hearts and households of Americans. There is a downside to sports though, and one doesn’t have to be a professional sports player to be a victim to it. One study found that in college the short term costs of sports injuries per year range from $446 million to $1.5 billion. The rates for high schoolers is even higher at an estimated $5.4 billion to $19.2 billion. This doesn’t even touch the long-term costs. It’s without a doubt that contact sports are hard on the body, and the long-term impact can affect more than just the game.

5 Hardest Sports on the Body

Studies suggest that the majority of injuries stem from contact sports.

The top 5 hardest sports on the body include:

  1. Football
  2. Basketball
  3. Soccer
  4. Ice Hockey
  5. Gymnastics is not far behind in injuries if one considers the intensive training and exertion placed on gymnasts.

What do these sports have in common? These sports all require running at fast speeds with the necessity of changing directions quickly. With lacrosse and ice hockey, not only is a moving object involved but also the extra use of a stick. The amount of contact in each of these sports varies, but it is a huge factor when it comes to injuries. Most would agree that while basketball isn’t technically a contact sport, contact still happens as do falls. Let’s take a look at some common injuries that are sustained from the above-mentioned sports.

Common Injuries

The most frequently injured part of the body in these sports is the lower body, most often involving the knee. This makes sense considering it is the largest joint in the body, consisting of bones, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments. Much force and strain is placed on the knees when running at fast speeds, jumping and landing hard on the ground, and twisting and turning when changing directions. Common knee injuries include fractures of the knee, dislocations, strains, sprains and possible ligament tears such an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tear. Other lower body injuries include hamstring strain, groin strain, and hip flexor strain.

Common upper body injuries include fractures and shoulder injuries. Shoulder injuries most often happen with impact or with “throwing” sports. Soft tissue injuries of the shoulders most often include swelling and instability. One of the most severe injuries with the longest lasting effects is concussions, or traumatic brain injuries, most often seen with contact sports.

With any sports injury, rest is required. Depending on the injury and required mode of rehabilitation, the short-term effects may just be the beginning. It is often the case that even with a doctor’s release, the part of the body that was injured is most often injured again, and continues to be a weak point in the body compared to uninjured areas. Although the human body has proved to be quite resilient and able to come back, if not bounce back, from initial injuries, there are sometimes unavoidable long-term effects. What can be done to combat these effects, or keep them at bay?

Combating Long-term effects of Sports Injuries

Early treatment of injuries is key to preventing any lasting long-term effects. Unfortunately, because of coach or team pressure, or lack of education concerning injuries, some sports players return too soon to the game without proper treatment or full rehabilitation of the initial injury and therefore suffer from repeated injuries. It is therefore encouraged after sustaining any type of injury, that a player or individual seeks a professional medical evaluation. This most often involves a visit to a physiotherapist as well. Once it has been deemed that a player can safely return to the game, it is vital that a proper warm-up precedes any intense activity. Physical conditioning should pay special attention to a previous injury, perhaps including new exercises purposed to strengthen and support that area; physiotherapists can provide reliable and valuable exercises. It is also important to build back up gradually and avoid overexertion in the beginning. Preventive measures can be used as well, including braces, bandages, and icing the area after any training session.


While this article focuses on sports injuries, it’s interesting to note that even general exercise can cause damage to any of the aforementioned areas. Following the same guidelines of seeking medical advice and proper rehabilitation, it’s possible to cope with the pain in the present, and leave any possible long-term impacts in the past. Call Blue Hill Sports and Spine Rehabilitation if you are suffering from a sports injury. We can create a customized program to help you recover and get back to doing what you love as soon as possible.