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Research paper

  1. 1. Brewer1Danny BrewerMrs. LesterAdvanced Composition28 September 2011 Triathlon Injuries and Prevention On August 8, 2011,a forty-year-old Chicago woman,who wasa director and vicepresident of Denver-based investment firm, became the second person to die after competing inthe Nautica New York City Triathlon. Amy Martich, also a mother of three, went into cardiacarrest twice after the morning swim in the Hudson River. She was transported to RooseveltHospital in critical condition and died there. The other competitor, sixty-four year-old, MichaelKydryk, of Freehold, New Jersey, died at the hospital after failing to complete the swim(“Second Death in Triathlon”).Though the deaths of both Martich and Kydryk are tragic they, areextreme examples of what can go wrong while competing in a triathlon. Triathlons, like anyother sports, pose dangers to the competitor, but they are as safe as any other sport when athletesare well prepared to face the obstacles. Throughout the process of training and competing in a triathlon, competitors run the riskof severely injuring themselves. Most common injuries obtained by competitors in a triathlon caneasily be prevented by taking simple measures.Doctor Bruce Wilk reveals “an ounce ofprevention is worth a pound of cure.”The interpretation of the quote leads me to conclude that itis easier and better for an athlete to prevent any injury than it is to fix an injury after it hasoccurred.The quote from Doctor Wilk is a wise and adage statement that should be heeded by
  2. 2. Brewer2anyone who is training for any type of sport. About seventy percent of injuries among athletescompeting in triathlons could be prevented through better fitting equipment, better nutrition andhydration practices, balanced training programs, adequate rest and stretching (Logue).It is easyto be injured while training, but these injuries could just as easily be prevented through simplemeasures. Many injuries are preventable when the right action is taken such as buying new shoeswhen the old ones start to wear blisters on the athlete’s feet or resting for the appropriate amountof time after a hard workout before attempting another hard work-out. Another easy way toprevent an injury is by following the ten percent rule, which states in order to prevent injury,avoid increased training distance or speed by more than ten percent a week (Wilk).The tenpercent rule will not only help prevent injury, but running increasingly each week by ten percentwill also help with endurance.Increasing the workout speed or distance each week makes itpossible to overcome obstacles and keep the athlete’s body in top fighting condition.It is betterfor the athlete’s body to try to prevent injuries from occurring than to treat them afterwards. While injuries can be prevented an injury, such as Swimmer’s Shoulder, can still occur inan athlete. An injury to the shoulder, also known as Swimmer’s Shoulder, is an inflammation inthe rotator-cuff tendon that can cause discomfort during shoulder movement (Wilk). This injuryis an inflammation in the shoulder that makes it painful for the athlete to move the arm in acertain way. Swimmer’s shoulder is a common injury that shows up in triathletes that can beeasily prevented. The cause of Swimmer’s Shoulder is the repetitive overhead activity of theswimming strokes causing fatigue of the muscles (Fontain).There are numerous causes ofSwimmer’s Shoulder, but the most common cause occur when the arm rotates and isoverworked. Many athletes do not know why they get injured because they are not aware thatthey are overworking their bodies leaving them fatigued and easier to injure. In order to prevent
  3. 3. Brewer3Swimmer’s Shoulder,athletes should participate in a workout that helps develop strength,endurance, and the balance and flexibility of muscles (Fontain). These workouts are beneficialbecause they help the athlete become stronger and more flexible. Prevention of Swimmer’sShoulder is very easy to do if the athlete will just rest when his body is telling him his musclesare overworking.Active release therapy is a new way to treat Swimmer’s Shoulder, which allowsa therapist to feel for adhesion then put their thumb and fingers on the adhesion and move it in away that breaks it away from the tissue (Tuchscherer). When the therapist starts Active releasetherapy, the treatment will hurt but in a way that lets the athlete know his body is being healed.This new treatment allows a swimmer to get back into swimming sooner than a surgery wouldhave allowed. Swimmer’s Shoulder may be a painful injury, but it is easy to prevent if the athleteis willing to listen to his body. Another common injury that can possibly occur to a triathlete is a lower back injury; thisinjury normally occurs while biking.Biker’s Back is a herniation of the lower vertebral discs thatcan cause extreme discomfort and pain in the back (Wilk).This extreme pain for the athlete willprevent him from continuing in the race or training for as long as the pain lasts. The herniation ofthe back can lead a triathlete to be unable to bike the rest of the race.The leading causes ofBiker’s Back are overtraining, poor technique, improper equipment set up, a lack of flexibilityand strength in the back or leg muscles (Wilk). The causes are readily prevented if the athletetakes proper care of his equipment. Biker’s Back is another injury athletes may incur if they arenot flexible or strong enough in the lower back.To prevent Biker’s Back follow the ten percentrule, make sure the seat and handlebars are properly adjusted to for the athlete’s proportions.Adjusting the handlebars and seat can change your cycling posture drastically.Another way toprevent Biker’s Back is to train at a comfortable position instead of bending over to maximize
  4. 4. Brewer4aerodynamics (Wilk). Biker’s Back is easily prevented if athletes take the proper measures. Bysitting in a more comfortable position and not trying to be more aerodynamic while biking, thetriathlete can prevent a back injury. A new way to treat Biker’s Back and other back injuries hasbeen found; Mind- Body therapies include guided imagery, hypnosis, biofeedback, relaxationtherapy and talk therapy (Shaw). Mind- body therapy avoids surgery and is now preferred bymore people than surgery. This new treatment helps athletes to get back to the sport faster sinceit does not use surgery.Indeed, Biker’s Back is an injury that is possible to prevent if athletestake the proper measures. Another frequently occurring injury among triathletes is Runner’s Knee.With Runner’sKnee, excessive force causes the cartilage under the knee-cap to become roughened or softenedmaking the knee-cap glide less smoothly over the femur causing pain (Millward).The knee-cap isnot able to move smoothly over the femur causing pain in athletes. This injury is an injury that isharder to prevent because it is due to overuse. There are multiple causes that can lead toabnormal stress of the IliotibialBand, including overload of the hip and quadriceps muscles dueto training, pronating or “flat” feet, and muscle imbalances (Fontaine).Runner’s Knee is mainlydue to over training and overloading the muscles in the leg. This injury is also caused by “flat”feet or over pronating, which is landing mid footthen over rolling the toes. To Treat Runner’sKnee athletes should apply the acronym RICE (rest, ice compression and elevation) to reduceswelling in the knee (Fontain).RICE is an easier prevention for Runner’s Knee because it allowsthe athlete time for rest and time for the injury to heal. A Triathlete should apply RICE if he orshe feels any form of pain in the knee.Cortisone injection into the area that is inflamed may beattempted (Clueet). This injection is the same one used for swimmers shoulder and possiblyother injuries. The cortisone injection may be able to reduce the chances for needing surgery.
  5. 5. Brewer5Runner’s Kneeis an extremely painful injury that occurs when an athlete over trains and does nothave the correct muscle flexibility. Yet another common running injury that arises in a triathlete is Achilles Tendonitis.Achilles Tendonitis is an injury to the tendons where the Para-tendon, a sheath surrounding thetendon, becomes inflamed (Fontain).This injury is common in triathletes who do not prepareproperly. Inflammation of the Para-tendon can cause vast amounts of pain in the foot causing anathlete to cease running or biking when the pain occurs. Tendonitis is caused by the overuse orrepetitive strain on muscles, worn out or improper fitting shoes or poor cleat positioning whenbiking (Millward). Much like Runner’s Knee, Achilles Tendonitis is common in runners andbikers. Also Achilles Tendonitis like Runner’s Knee is caused by overuse of the muscles. Sometreatments for Achilles Tendonitis are stretching three times a week focusing on the gluteal,quadriceps, hamstrings, groin, and deep compartment tibia muscles following a workout(Fontaine). Much like Runner’s Knee, Achilles Tendonitis can be prevented through simplemeasures such as stretching. Some stretches that will help with Achilles Tendonitis are stretchesfor the quadriceps, hamstrings and other muscles close to this area. There are two types ofsurgery now available for Achilles Tendon Rupture; in open surgery, the surgeon makes onelarge incision in the back of the leg. While in percutaneous surgery, the surgeon makes severalsmall incisions rather than one large one, but in both cases the surgeon sews the tendon backtogether through the incisions (Khan). Surgery is an option for treatment for Achilles TendonRupture in extreme cases. Surgery will keep the athlete out from training and competing longerthan injections, but right now there is no other way to treat this injury. Achilles Tendonitis iscommon in any athletes that have to run in their sport, but it can be prevented by stretching andthrough other means of treatment.
  6. 6. Brewer6 The many injuries that occur during a triathlon can lead to a triathlete’s inability tocomplete the race. Competing in a Triathlon is a massive undertaking, which, unless the athleteis ready, will be very difficult for the athlete to complete. A triathlon poses a substantial risk withmany injuries that can sideline an athlete for some time if the athlete is not careful. Some of theinjuries athletes can get will keep an athlete from training or competing for extensive amounts oftime.Since taking chances in life is normal for everyone, people should go ahead and try atriathlon.It is well worth the training and time.