American Football

Shoulder injuries and diseases

American Football and shoulder

Like in all other sports disciplines sprains and hematomas in football are the most common entity even at the shoulder.
Player positions and shoulder injuries:
The quaterback position is the position which is related to the most injuries. Due to throwing and direct contact trauma shoulder injuries happen at this football position most. A direct trauma of a quaterback with a player of the competiting team occurs in about 82% and is the most common shoulder injury. The injury risk is 9 times higher during the game ( compared with training hours ).
The risk to suffer from a complete rotator cuff tears is the highest for offensive loneman and linebacker. Rotator cuff tears occur due to a direct fall onto the shoulder.


Football and shoulder instability:
A quite common problem are shoulder instabilities. In acute cases it is normally a dislocation. The more professional a football player is performing the game the earlier an operative stabiliziation is done. An open operative procedure is favorized due to the fact that it is a contact sports.
Chronic instabilities due to microtraumata in american football players, who are playing for years or decades, is a more rare problem. The shoulder joint capsule is weared off, caused by repetitive mircrotraumata, and the labrum is destructed as well. This is resulting into snapping phenomena and shoulder pain, as well. Physiotherapy is the method of choice. Otherwise the shoulder instability is treated in an arthroscopic or open operation. Especially tears of the posterior labrum occur much more compared to the general population.


Other causes of shoulder pain in american footbal:
Sometimes shoulder pain in football players remains unclear. In theses cases partial tears of the rotator cuff, SLAP lesions or a posterosuperior impingement might be observed. SLAP lesions can be recognized regularly. These tears of the upper labrum occur in football due to a direct blow against the affected shoulder. Depending on the kind and 8 types of SLAP lesions they are sutured or debrided arthroscopically.
Other shoulder problems might be an impingement syndrome or an inflammation of the long head of the biceps tendon.
Therapy of choice are rest, pain and antiinflammatory drugs as well as physiotherapy. If this doesn´t work a shoulder arthroscopy and - depending on the situation in the shoulder joint - an arthroscopic operation will be performed.


How to prevent shoulder injuries in American football:
Use of helmets and protectors is very important to avoid football injuries.
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