Sporting accidents and the rise of psychological personal injury claims
Between six million and nineteen million new personal injuries occur as a result of sporting accidents in the UK every year which costs around £500 million in treatment and time off work. Read an overview of personal injuries.
However, when we hear that one of our national heroes has sustained a personal injury it is usually a physical injury such as a hamstring sprain or ankle injury.
Just consider how much media coverage there was when Wayne Rooney fractured his metatarsal in the lead up to the World Cup. England was thrown into disarray at the thought of one of their star players not being match fit for the championship but not many spared a thought for how old Wayne was feeling inside.
Players that sustain a physical injury suffer many consequences including substantial pain and anguish, weeks of physical therapy, confinement to oxygen tents and such like. But, they also feel the frustration of not being able to play, guilt for letting down their team mates and disappointment at not being able to represent their country.
Physical personal injury
Both professional and amateur sportsmen sustain a wide variety of personal injuries throughout their sporting careers, some of the most common physical injuries include:
Shoulder injuries: these are more common among those that take part in throwing sports such as cricket. Examples include rotator cuff tendonitis and separated shoulder where the ligaments near the end of the collarbone are stretched or torn. Read an overview of shoulder injury.
Elbow pain: tennis or golfer's elbow are frequent among a variety of sports men. This is where the tendons in the elbow become stretched beyond their natural range and inflamed as a result of a repetitive motion. Read more about arm injury.
Wrist sprain: this is injury to the ligaments of the joint usually to the outer side of the hand. Those that play racket sports are more likely to suffer from wrist sprain. Read more about wrist injury.
Groin pull: this is a strain or rupture to the inner thigh muscle which allows you to swing your leg inwards. This may be distinguished by a swelling in the groin area or a cracking feeling and sound when the injured area is pressed with fingers. This personal injury is especially common among athletes.
Knee pain: patellar-femoral syndrome is a common knee pain which is caused by inflammation to the underside of the kneecap. This occurs when the kneecap moves outside its natural groove, rubbing against your upper leg bone at the knee joint. An anterior crutiate ligament (ACL) rupture may also occur when the foot is planted and the knee twists to change direction. Footballers often suffer from knee injuries. Read more about knee injury.
Hamstring injury: a hamstring sprain occurs when the several fibres in your hamstring muscle are torn. The hamstring is located at the back of your thigh. Warming up properly before strenuous activity or wearing a sports girdle may help prevent this personal injury.
Shin splints: the tissue which attaches the muscles of your lower leg to the shin bone may be pulling away from the bone or may become inflamed from overuse. This injury may occur as a result of impact caused by sports such as running.
Ankle sprains and strains: this is essentially when the ligaments in your ankle which hold the bones together have been over-stretched. Causes of ankle sprains and strains include poor technique and uneven terrain and are rife among cross-country runners.
Psychological personal injury
There are a number of psychological effects following a sporting accident. Sportsmen can suffer symptoms similar to Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome in which they begin to fear the sport they once loved.
On the other hand, some develop a psychological injury as a result of a physical injury. For example, a professional rugby player who sustains a neck injury and is forced to take the rest of the season off to recover may begin to suffer anxiety and depression because instead of being out on the pitch, he is confined to his home and instead of training, he is advised to rest.
Typical psychological symptoms following a sporting accident include:
- Stress symptoms: fear of sustaining further injury, intrusive thoughts, nightmares, avoidance of conversations about sport and sport observation
- Mood disturbances: feeling low, tearfulness, irritability, loss of libido
- Social anxieties: avoidance of friends who play sports and sporting events
- Effect on close relationships: poor anger management, loss of sexual function
- Chronic pain behaviour: interaction between pain and tolerance and mood variability
Making a personal injury claim for a psychological sports injury
Most professional sportsmen are extremely valuable and with some of our top footballers earning £50,000 a week it is crucial that they have comprehensive personal injury insurance cover.
As playing sports becomes more popular and there is an increased range of sports, from football to extreme ironing, the frequency of sports injury cases are likely to increase.
Although sport is now accepted as an important part of our daily lives, the loss of ability to play sport is still not recognised as a separate identifiable psychological illness in eyes of personal injury law.
At present, there is no real precedent when a sports injury compensation claim is valued but a combination of the following factors may be considered after a sportsman has been trained too hard by his coach:
- Pain, suffering and loss of amenity
- Loss of chance, for example of winning a competition
- Loss of opportunity to enjoy sport
- Loss of congenial employment
- Loss of ability to follow a particular sporting career
When pursuing a personal injury claim it is important to have medical evidence. Most reputable personal injury solicitors will organise this for you. Read more about making a personal injury claim.
Author: Katy Lassetter
Online personal injury compensation claim specialists, with an excellent claim success rate. Call 0800 197 32 32 or visit http://www.the-claim-solicitors.co.uk for more details.