We’re well into basketball season, and while engaging in a fun game of hoops, or any sport really, is a great way to stay healthy, it can also result in a risk of injury. Most sports injuries are minor, but they can sometimes lead to a hospital visit. Per the CDC, sports injuries account for 2.7 million ER visits by patients aged 5 to 24 years. The National Safety Council reported 3.2 million ER visits across all ages, with the most common sports injuries being related to gym exercise, cycling, and competitive sports.
Common Sports Injuries
The most common sports injuries include:
• Joint injuries, especially to the knee
• Sprains and strains
• Pulled or injured muscles
• Injuries to the Achilles tendon
• Pain along the shin bone
Different sports may carry different risks, but none can be considered completely risk-free. You should see a doctor if you have persistent or new swelling around a joint, an unstable joint, painful pops, or are still in pain after a period of rest.
How to Best Prevent Sports Injuries
While it is not possible to completely prevent sports injuries, you or your child can reduce risk substantially by:
• Using all recommended safety equipment including helmets, proper footwear, etc.
• Listening to your coach and doing your best to hone proper form
•Eating a healthy diet
• Properly hydrating. If it’s hot, not hydrating can exasperate heat-related illnesses, but staying hydrated on cooler days as well is just as important!
• Cross training – switching up your exercises can reduce the risk of repetitive strain injuries
• Always warming up properly
• Getting enough sleep
• Getting a preseason physical
Knowing when to stop is also important. Nursing an injury while continuing to play can make it worse and/or result in compensation injury caused by compromising your form to avoid pain.
Does Health Insurance Cover Sports Injuries?
Typically, yes. However, regular health insurance will not cover injuries that take place during professional sport, i.e. if you are being paid, even a token amount. This might include sponsorships. However, professional teams typically provide sports insurance to their members.
Some health insurers may not cover activities they consider to be too “extreme.” This might include things like base jumping, mountaineering, skydiving, bungee jumping, etc. Some are tighter and may not cover horseback riding, extreme off-roading, or even going for a ride in a friend’s small plane. This might include activities you engage in on vacation and may not think about. For example, some insurers will not cover hiking over 10,000 feet, which would include a guided tour to Machu Picchu.
You should check your coverage to make sure your activity is included. Unfortunately, many of us don’t have the option of changing health insurers to get coverage for our sport of choice. If that is the case, or if you are engaged in professional sports, you should get specific sports and injury coverage. Trip insurance can sometimes cover you for activities you engage in on vacation, but make sure that it includes “adventure sports.”
Some extreme activities may not be covered at all due to their inherent risk.
Sports insurance can also include a payout if you or your child experiences a career-ending injury. It can also include coverage for your expensive equipment.
The best way to deal with sports injuries is to try your best to avoid them. However, even with good training, the right gear, and reasonable precautions, accidents can happen. Make sure before you engage in sports, especially organized or adventure sports, that you are properly covered. If your health insurance does not cover you, sports insurance is your best bet to avoid an unpleasant surprise bill. To find out more about our sports insurance policies, contact a local Northeast Nebraska Insurance agent today.