When you decide to play any sport, you’re willing to risk getting injured. While there is an inherent risk of injury in every sport, the kinds of injuries and the likelihood of sustaining them varies greatly from sport to sport. Unfortunately, Irish sports are often overlooked by the broader medical community, so today we’re going to look at some of the most common injuries in one of Ireland’s oldest and roughest sports: hurling.
Types of Injuries
A study conducted over an 8 month period by the American Journal of Sports Medicine found that, like many other sports, the most common injuries in hurling are muscle strains, which accounted for a quarter of all reported injuries. 41% of these strains were in the ham string, making it the most commonly reported injury overall.
After strains, the most common injuries are contusions, which represent just over 16%. These are most frequently found on the shins, back, and head. Contusions are followed by sprains, which were found to represent just under 16% of injuries. The knees and ankles are the most at-risk joints, and account for 9% of all injuries.
13% of injuries are in the fingers, making it slightly more common than an injured ham string. However, while there is a big risk of broken fingers in hurling, not all of the injured fingers were actually broken.
Interestingly, although almost half of the injuries in this study took place during training, when you adjust for time spent training versus playing, you’ll find that you are seven times more likely to be injured during a match. While this itself may not come as much of a surprise, the authors of this study noted that foul play is responsible for 41% of these injuries. A lack of both respect for and enforcement of the rules is largely to blame for the prevalence of these injuries, they claim.
Apart from playing by the rules, there are a number of simple steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of sustaining an injury. Since the majority of injuries are some form of strain, a proper warm up before is essential. But warming-down is also a crucial aspect in preventing strains, particularly in a sport like hurling. Hurling involves a lot of stopping and starting, and sudden turns, so keeping your muscles as loose as possible is a necessity.
It is also important to maintain a decent level of physical activity in the off season. While it is not necessary to remain as physical as you would when preparing for a match, you need to ensure that you do not lose the agility you have built up. Going for a run even once a week during the off season can be enough to help your body stay fit, and will make it considerably easier to get back in the game.
Another notable find in the study on hurling was that many of the injuries were sustained because the player was not wearing the proper gear. You probably don’t need to kit up every time you take the sliotar out, but if you are having a mock match with friends, it might be a good idea. It may not be the coolest thing to suggest, but since the main causes of injury are lack of rules and lack of protection, it’s probably the best way to avoid missing the whole season.