Almost unique for any sport, the injury rate in swimming unhealthily high with around 80% of all competitive participants having to expect to be injured. For an activity that have often been quoted as a great rehabilitative activity for people with injuries arising from other activities, this is surely not only odd but should also be something the sport’s good and great should address as a matter of urgency.
Do we even know what the factors that lead to these injuries are? Typically, we put these injuries in the ‘overuse’ category, but we do agree that it is much more likely that structures and tissues are overworked if they are worked wrongly as well. Therefore, surely we can determine what these aberrant movements and habits are and then work on correcting them before the injuries occur.
We like to think swimming is unique to other sports and yet in general there are probably more similarities than differences between any sports or actives human get involved in. However, let’s stay with the unique elements and assume that some of these are indeed contributing to the uniquely high injury rates.
The Swimming Performance Institute - an organisation I am proud to a founding member of - has developed two levels of screens that first determine the propensity for injuries and then identify the likely cause and solution for these ‘problems’.
The first screen is even FREE to anyone interested in preventing swimming injuries, be it parents, coaches or physical therapists.
We want to establish a culture that acknowledges the ‘problem’, that has a language around it that extends far beyond ‘overuse’, and finally allows the use of a common language towards the identification, treatment and prevention of injuries in competitive swimmers.