Contusions Are The Second-Leading Cause Of Sports Injuries

Carlos Gonzalez


By Dr. RotoColorado Rockies stud outfielder Carlos Gonzalez has been struggling with a wrist contusion for the last few weeks. He has missed many games and it has looked as if he was going to be placed on the DL on more than one occasion. Dr. Roto examines the confusion that people have about a contusion:

Simply put, bruises develop when small blood vessels under the skin tear or rupture, most often from a bump or fall. Blood then leaks into tissues under the skin and causes the black-and-blue colour that we are so familiar with, even as youngsters. These bruises, or contusions, often turn colours, including purplish black, reddish blue, or yellowish green and can take close to a few weeks to gradually fade away. Luckily, most bruises are not a cause for concern and go away on their own. However, severe bruising, swelling, and pain that begins within minutes of an injury may mean a more serious problem, such as a severe sprain or even a fracture.

Athletes in all contact sports are susceptible to getting a muscle contusion. Contusions are second only to strains as a leading cause of sports injuries. Most contusions are minor and heal quickly, but occasionally, they can last for a few weeks. Typically, a bruise on a leg usually will take longer to heal than a bruise on the face or arms. But, severe contusions can cause deep tissue damage and can lead to complications that may keep a player out of games for weeks or even months.

A contusion can result from falling or jamming the body against a hard surface. So for example, when a football player gets slammed to the ground on a tackle, there is a good chance that a contusion may occur. Similarly, in baseball, a contusion can happen when an outfielder slams into a wall trying to make a catch at the warning track. Contusions cause swelling and pain, and limit range of motion near the injury.

To control pain, bleeding, and inflammation, Dr. Roto recommends the RICE formula:

  • Rest: Protect the injured area from further harm by stopping play.
  • Ice: Apply ice wrapped in a clean cloth in 20 minute intervals
  • Compression: Lightly wrap the injured area in a soft bandage or ace wrap.
  • Elevation: Raise it to a level above the heart.

Most athletes with contusions get better quickly without surgery. During the first 24 to 48 hours after injury, players will probably need to continue using rest, ice, compression bandages, and elevation to control bleeding, swelling, and pain. Team doctors may also give anti-inflammatory drugs for pain relief. If there is a large hematoma that does not go away within several days, doctors may drain it to speed the healing process.

After a few days, inflammation should start to go down and the injury may feel better. Depending upon the extent of the injury, returning to normal sports activity may take several weeks or longer. If a player puts too much stress on the injured area before it has healed, excessive scar tissue may develop and cause more problems. It is only when players have normal, pain-free ranges of motion, that team doctors may let them return to their lineups.

Dr. Roto’s mailbag:

Each week, Dr. Roto will also answer a couple of questions from his readers. If you have a question that you would like Dr. Roto to answer, please email him directly at [email protected]

Question: I see that Grady Sizemore went onto the DL yet again. Should I dump him in a 12 team mixed league? –Darren, Denver

Darren: It has been hard to watch Sizemore over the last couple of years, as he is a shell of the talented player that we saw emerge with the Indians years ago. Sizemore has been on and off both the DL and the injury table over the last few years. This has sapped not only his numbers, but the spirits of his Fantasy owners. Sad to say, but I think you can safely dump him for the remainder of this year. I expect that he will be out longer than the 15 days on the DL and will not provide much for you offensively the rest of the way. I would have to think that in a 12-team mixed league there is enough talent available on your free agent wire to replace his numbers. Take a close look at Peter Bourjos. He has been on the DL recently, but is due back this weekend. If healthy, Bourjos could give you some decent power/speed numbers the rest of the way.

Question: Ryan Braun has been killing me over the last few weeks. He is supposed to play, then sits. Then the other night he played, but only for a few innings? What is Ron Roenicke’s deal in Milwaukee? –Vance, Pittsburgh

Vance: I totally sympathize with you, as I am not quite sure why the Brewers didn’t just put him on the DL prior to the All-Star break. My best guess is that they thought he might be able to play in the game itself, but as we know, that never happened. Although he has been playing recently, Braun still is not 100 per cent with his calf. Roenicke actually took him out of a recent game (even after Braun hit a home run) because he didn’t want Braun to push it too much. Look for Braun to play about seven or so innings per game for the next few games while he works himself into game shape. With another week under his belt, he should be back to normal.

Dr. Roto is a Fantasy Sports Writer & On Air Personality. A subject of a UPN newscast for guiding numerous Fantasy Sports participants to league titles, Dr. Roto has answered over 10,000 Fantasy MLB, NFL and NBA questions over the past two decades. Dr. Roto is also a guest three times a week on SiriusXM’s Fantasy Sports Morning Drive Show. You can also catch him on Rotoradio’s Roto Rx baseball podcast and the NFL Red zone Report podcast. You may email Dr. Roto directly at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @DrRoto.

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