Ways to Classify Sports Injuries

Ways to Classify Sports Injuries

  • Direct and indirect
  • Soft and hard tissue
  • Overuse

Direct and Indirect

  • Direct
    • Caused by an external force due to tackle or collision.
    • The site of injury is generally the point of collision.
    • Injury types include: fractures, dislocation, sprains and bruises.
  • Indirect
    • Damage or impact experienced intrinsically.
    • Results from inexpert ballistic movements, inadequate warm up, and while executing skills that are still lacking in training.
    • Muscles, ligaments and tendons (soft tissues) are affected.

Soft and Hard Tissue

  • Soft tissue
    • Damages are endured by the muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, skin, organs, blood vessels and nerves.
    • Can be due to a sudden impact (acute) or a prolonged experience due to previous acute injuries (chronic).
    • Types include:
      • Tears
      • Sprain
      • Contusion
      • Abrasion
      • Laceration
      • Blister
      • Callus
    • Recovery takes 3 days to 12 months depending on the degree of injury.
    • Initial symptoms include pain, swelling, inflammation and sometimes loss of mobility.
    • The RICER method is used for recovery:
      • Rest – The athlete is withdrawn from the playing field.
      • Ice – Common form of first aid cryotherapy.
      • Compression – Securing the site of injury with an elastic bandage.
      • Elevation – The injured part of the body is elevated above heart level.
      • Referral – Further follow up with a physician.
    • Hard tissue
      • Injuries that damage the bones and teeth.
      • Direct impact of a force applied deliberately.
      • Symptoms include: pain, swelling, dysfunctional limb, deformation.
      • Management methods include: DRSABCD, ice, elevation, immobilization by using splint, seeking medical help as soon as possible.
      • Example: dislocations, fractures.


  • Results from the stress applied on muscles or joints by repeating particular movements making the muscles and joints exhausted.
  • The site of injury triggers pain and is often inflamed.
  • Can lead to stress fractures.
  • Example: Shin splints, tendonitis