Professional athletes have many benefits that are clear to fans all over the world. You always hear people say that they wished they could compete at the professional level due to the fame and accolades that these high-performance athletes receive. Fame, notoriety, and financial benefits are three of the things that many professional athletes obtain. However, all that glitters is not gold. Being a high-performance athlete comes at a cost for all competitors throughout a professional sports career.
Everyone experiences discomfort when pushing their body to the limit over a prolonged period. This is the case for average athletes as well as professionals who are paid to compete. The concept that many people don’t realize is that there is a price to being a high-performance athlete. Sports injuries are a significant part of being a competitor at the highest level. Preventive measures can be put in place, but this isn’t a guaranteed way to prevent high-performance injuries from occurring.
In trail running, injuries occur all the time. The back-of-the-packer is just as susceptible to a stress fracture as the winning runner in any given race.
Let’s look at some of the most common injuries that high-performance athletes in different sports experience while training and competing.
Running is one of the most physical sports that any human can endure. Repetitive pounding on pavement and trails puts a lot of stress on the body. Running shoes are made to prevent injuries, but there is not a perfect model on the market. Some of the most common injuries that professional and recreational runners endure are patellofemoral syndrome, Achilles tendinitis, and shin splints.
Patellofemoral syndrome is also known as “runner’s knee.” This refers to pain in and around the kneecap. Achilles tendinitis is when swelling occurs along a person’s Achilles tendon. This is often very painful and limits the range of motion. Shin splints are usually caused by running too many miles when the body isn’t trained for the volume. The sign of shin splints is when a person experiences pain in the shin’s front, and this discomfort increases with exercise.
These are severe injuries to withstand because they take runners out of commission for an extended period depending on the severity of the damage. To run at a high level, a person’s lower half must be healthy, or they won’t post a good result. A lot of running injuries at the professional level occur because of overtraining. Runners must know their body well enough to maximize their potential by rigorous training, but competitors will often try to push the limit.
High-performance runners are very familiar with all these injuries, but this doesn’t stop them from grinding out the necessary miles to compete on race day.
Professional Soccer and Basketball Athletes
Soccer and basketball players are familiar with the injuries that distance runners experience due to the nature of their sport. These are two sports where endurance is key to performing at a high level. These athletes will experience the same injuries during their training as runners when doing prolonged cardio exercise.
The lower half of the body is critical in these two sports. However, these athletes have it slightly different than runners because running is only a portion of their sport. An offseason stress fracture or tendonitis injury can be debilitating, but this doesn’t mean training will be derailed.
It’s most common to see endurance injuries for basketball and soccer players in the final phase of the offseason, where cardio is the primary emphasis for athletes after initially focusing on strength.
Football is a grueling sport, but endurance injuries caused by overuse aren’t very frequent. Football training is done with a short burst emphasis in mind. High-performance football players experience hamstring strains, ankle sprains, and a lot of knee injuries, as any sports betting fan will tell you. It’s not uncommon to receive an overuse injury in football from endurance training, but it’s not as likely because of the nature of the sport.
High-performance athletes want to push their body to maximum capacity, and this often results in pulled muscles in offseason football training. Stretching is the best way to beat muscle injuries, but this only minimizes training risk for high-performance football players.
There is a price to being a high-performance athlete. Some athletes don’t have to deal with too many injuries during their career, but others aren’t as lucky. Various sports have their frequency of injuries, but the fact is that high-performance athletes all feel pain throughout their careers. These athletes wouldn’t be where they’re at in their career without dealing with and overcoming training injuries.
Understanding the risks and sacrifices involved in reaching the pinnacle of athletic performance is crucial. What Does It Take to Become a Professional Athlete? delves into the dedication, training, and resilience required to excel in sports at a professional level, offering a comprehensive look at the journey beyond the challenges of injuries.