If you want one more thing to blame on 2020, it could be a rise in injuries that you are seeing across sports.  I kind of saw this coming if you recall the post I wrote last May on your athlete getting out of shape.

I didn’t quite predict this, but I did say that something bad could happen with the inactivity of the athlete for a few months to ramping it up again without a proper training period. But, stats are hard to argue with:

  • In 2020, the NFL had the highest rate of in-game injuries reported in a long while. This increase was higher than the reported injuries the decade before.
  • Major league baseball has seen a huge increase in soft tissue injuries (muscle strains such as obliques and hamstrings) in just the first two months of this season alone.
  • On the local level, one of the club soccer teams in Columbus has had a rash of ACL tears amidst several of the older age girl teams. Not just a tear or two here and there, but multiple athletes on each team. This was reported to me by several sources close to the situation.

Injuries were definitely something I was worried about with my track team, but it turned out I only had a few typical track injuries I see every year (shin splints and a hamstring strain).  Oh, I forgot the sprinter I had who also plays club soccer who tore her ACL. 

Most of my track athletes had already played another high school sport earlier in the year so I feel they were somewhat acclimated by the time they got to me in the spring.

Unfortunately, the experts have no real explanation for why the injuries are increasing or what could be done to curb it. Other than blaming something else on 2020.

The professionals are creatures of habit. They train 12 months out of the year so to have them disrupt that training cycle with inactivity for several months could (and I guess did) have negative effects on their bodies.

Even though most of them are highly conditioned individuals, when you disrupt what they are used to, imbalances start to occur that they can’t see.  Eventually it manifests into injuries.  Even in an age where owners and trainers are aware of load management, it is hard to define what is a heavy load for different athletes.

If you have read my blog posts before, you know I am not a fan of the direction club sports are going.  Forcing these kids to specialize at a younger and younger age.  Putting them through a practice and game schedule that mirror what professionals do.  Even though their bodies are not as developed as the adults who are professionals.

This is a recipe for disaster.

What I witnessed with the club sports this year with the shutdown that occurred this past spring was this:

  • An increase in intense practices once they were allowed to make up for lost time.
  • An increased game schedule to make up for games lost.
  • These two increases weren’t put in over a lengthened club season.  It was still the same length, just packing more intensity in.  If the athlete isn’t conditioned appropriately more injuries could occur.  Which has happened.
  • My opinion is that the clubs also lost money having refunded a lot for the lost season and needed to justify the payments being made to the club in a time when they weren’t playing.  

When you see an increase in injuries, you have to look at everything to figure out why.  And then you need to figure out what is needed to avoid this increase in the future, which I don’t think is being addressed.  At least at the local and younger level.

I know a lot of tryouts for club sports are happening now.  The club organizers talk about player development and college exposure.  The question you probably should be asking is, “What are you doing to prevent injuries for my athlete?”