has responded to the rise in over use injuries by placing greater emphasis on injury prevention, developing new diagnostic and treatment techniques, and promoting rehabilitation as an aid to full recovery. This is what Dr. Lyle J. Micheli, one of the nations foremost sports medicane authorities, calls the "new sports medicane."
Below is an example of what a typical sports doctor will do before getting their degree:
It has become increasingly evident over the past 25 years that there is a need for data on injury rates for the variety of sports and physical activities in which people of all ages are becoming involved. The research literature on the epidemiology of sports-related injuries has been growing slowly as various individuals and groups have attempted to gather data on the risks of participating in various sports. Almost all of these attempts have focused on sports in an organized setting, for younger age groups, and have involved relatively short-term observations. With the recent increase in participation in general fitness activities, and with such participation being encouraged by the medical community as a public health intervention to promote healthy lifestyles, it often is not realized there is little or no dependable data available to assess the risks involved in participation in physical activities. Much effort is being expended in defining the benefits of exercise, but little is being done to define risk levels. Such information is needed in order to make informed decisions as to the value of participating in a particular activity, and to provide clues as to how injury rates can be reduced.
This paper presents some of the preliminary results on exercise patterns and injury rates for a six month study of a small sample of regularly exercising subjects. This pilot study was undertaken to test data collection forms and procedures for a planned longitudinal, prospective study of exercise and injury patterns in a large sample of middle-aged and older adults.
As a pilot study of activity and injury patterns in middle-aged adults, data were collected monthly for 6 months from 25 regularly exercising adults (19 male, 6 female) aged 43-70 years (mean 54.0 yr). Each subject completed a daily exercise log noting type, duration and intensity of exercise, and distance covered (if appropriate). Any injuries or illnesses causing restriction of normal activity were recorded on separate check-off forms. Reports were received each of the 6 months from all subjects. The subjects accumulated 3209 exercise sessions, totaling 2631 hrs. The predominant activities were running (2128 sessions; 1780 hrs; 19,638 km), weightlifting (357 sessions; 181 hrs), walking (228 sessions; 195 hrs; 1064 km) and cycling (109 sessions; 78 hrs; 1992 km). All other exercise activities (e.g., tennis, swimming, rowing, water running) totaled 388 sessions and 397 hrs. The subjects averaged 4.0 hrs/week of exercise in 4.9 sessions/week of 49 min/session. Two-thirds of the sessions involved running, and 21 subjects ran regularly. These subjects ran an average of 3.9 times/week, 50.2 min/session, 38.2 km/week, 9.3 km/session at 5:24/km pace. While running was the predominant activity in this sample, each subject participated regularly in an average of 2.2 different exercise activities, and participated at least once in an average of 3.4 different activities during the period of this study. There were 30 time-loss injuries attributed to exercise in this sample, 23 involving the lower extremities. One-third of the total injuries involved the knee. There were 9.3 injuries/1,000 exercise sessions or 11.4 injuries/1,000 hrs of exercise. Each injury lasted an average of 10.7 days before return to unrestricted activity. However, many injuries resulted in modification of activity (e.g., decreased frequency, distance, pace, or doing alternative activities) rather than complete restriction of exercise. During this period there were 10 injuries recorded that did not involve exercise, 5 being lower back strains, with an average time-loss of 17.2 days. There also were 17 illnesses reported, primarily colds and flu, with an average time-loss of 7.4 days. Based on the results from this small pilot study, a middle-aged exerciser can expect 2.4 exercise-related injuries per year with a total of 25.8 days of modified or restricted activity, 0.8 non-exercise injuries per year with 13.8 days of restricted activity, and 1.4 illnesses affecting 10.4 days. On the average, this middle-aged exerciser can expect 4.6 injury or illness episodes affecting 50 days each year.