Sports are organized competitions, usually governed by some group of rules or traditions, that help to ensure fair play, and ensure consistent adjudication of the outcome. In most organized sports, statistics of performance are kept, and this information can be openly reported or revealed in sports news. However, in informal sports, most sports activities are less structured, allowing for a higher degree of natural inclination and free will, as to how a sport should be played. For example, many young children play baseball without any form of official regulation, other than encouraging the child to keep the ball. There are no official rules governing how to throw or catch a ball, or even where and when to eat lunch! The result is that children naturally play their games without any form of formality, taking full advantage of their free will and natural instincts.
Most physical activities are limited by rules that govern how they may be conducted, or the type of equipment used. One such law is that a player must throw the ball “with the feet”. This is to discourage “foul play”, since the ball cannot be thrown “with the legs” (as in baseball, where runners are allowed to keep the ball with their legs in order to make longer throws). Another law regulating physical action is that touching a ball “on the shirt or breast” is grounds for a foul. Thus, a player caught deliberately trying to drop a ball on an opponent’s chest is guilty of a foul, and often receives a game suspension or even a fine.
The rules and regulations governing many types of organized sport activity are generally the same across all sports, but the degree of play may differ. Therefore, it is important for a sports medicine healthcare provider to understand the specific regulations for each sport. When a sport requires uniformity, such as dress code for high school or college athletic teams, the person providing medical care should be able to point out the differences and explain them to the patient. The same is true when discussing differences in physical activity. For instance, football, as a popular sport, requires players to wear knee pads, shoulder pads, helmets, jerseys, gloves, elbow pads, etc., whereas baseball requires players to wear different clothing for each level of play (high school, college, junior college, etc. ).
In addition, some sports medicine healthcare providers are involved in counseling, so that they can better understand and recommend physical activities for their patients with special needs. They may also be called upon to help create a policy regarding acceptable clothing, equipment, etc. Also, a sports medicine specialist might be asked to determine whether or not a patient is eligible for a particular exercise regime or treatment.
A great deal of skill and practice is required when treating sports injuries. A skilled sports medicine healthcare provider should know how to properly assess the problem, plan the treatment, take precautions and ensure that the patient is able to engage in the necessary physical activities required by the treatment. It takes a long time to completely recover from an injury sustained during contact sports. Some sports organizations have instituted protective gear to minimize the risk of further injury. This gear includes elbow pads, helmets, padding, wrist guards, hand gloves, shin guards, elbow pads, braces, etc.
Many injuries sustained in contact sports can be prevented by following good protective practices. However, even when the injury is inevitable, sportspersons should not slow down on their normal activities. It is recommended that athletes with sports-related injuries consult a sports medicine healthcare provider to determine what action they should take following the injury. Sports professionals should always avoid unnecessary physical exertion if at all possible.