Regardless of whether you are a top or amateur athlete – injuries are a part of it. Healing depends on quick and good care, and there are some differences between athletes.
Capsule injured, ligaments torn, broken leg: a serious injury is horror for every athlete and makes dreams burst. Failure for a few weeks or even a career break are the consequences. One thing is certain: every injury is uncomfortable and good care is particularly important. Top athletes are often back on the field quickly, while some amateur athletes with the same injury have to go into rehab for weeks.
Successes after serious injury
An example of this: Bert Trautmann, German goalkeeper at Manchester City in 1945, breaks his cervical vertebra during a game – a life-threatening injury. But he still returns to the goal recovered. Or the Krahn von Schifferstadt, wrestler Wilfried Dietrich, tore his crisscross and inner ligament in 1968. He fought his way back and won the bronze medal at the Olympic Games in the same year. Physiotherapy was already doing great things in sport back then.
Back to success with help
Even today, athletes are given the best possible and comprehensive treatment in order to be able to take part in major competitions. Rider Dorothee Schneider broke her collarbone in a fall with her horse shortly before the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo. But she is also fit again on time, rides with a handicap to team gold in dressage.
However, not all injuries can be healed. The footballer Wojtek Czyz had to have his lower leg amputated in 2001 after an accident – a hard blow. But he was able to accept his fate and take a new path, namely as a Paralympic athlete in the long jump and sprint.
Top athletes regenerate faster
Physiotherapy is essential to regain mobility and stability as quickly as possible after an injury. “The professional athlete has several applications a day and almost every day. The normal patient a maximum of 20 minutes two to three times a week during which he is cared for,” explains Steffen Schwehm from Physio Athletics Kaiserslautern, explaining a crucial difference between professional athletes and amateurs.
Carefree package for competitive athletes
Depending on the injury, the care for top athletes starts without any loss of time. Whether lymph drainage, physiotherapy or training, the athletes enjoy a comprehensive package and are taken by the hand for all questions about their health. Small adjustments such as nutrition are also turned in order to get the patient back into shape as quickly as possible.
In addition, the muscles in top athletes are much more pronounced and do not degrade as quickly. The regeneration, the muscle cells and the memory cells in the muscles return more quickly to the level of performance they were at before the injury.
But the professionals have one problem: The sport is their job, and they can hardly afford months of absence. This is why professionals are sometimes reinstated too early, and a residual risk remains. The normal athlete has the advantage that he can completely cure his injury without time pressure.
Main factor: overload
“Pressure increases the tension in the muscles, and this increases the risk of injury,” explains sports therapist Fabian Kobel. When there is pressure, fear or stress, the human body produces the hormones cortisol and adrenaline. At first, this leads to an increase in performance, but if the pressure does not decrease, sleep disorders are the result and regeneration is disturbed.
Proper practice is important
Anyone who has injured themselves as a hobby athlete should ask themselves the following questions when looking for the right physiotherapy: Does the practice offer what I have been prescribed? And has the practice had anything to do with sports injuries so far? Once that has been clarified, you should ask whether the practice works specifically for sports and whether it has a training area. Ultimately, it would also be very important to ask whether the practice can support you with a training plan for at home after the treatment.
Once all of these questions have been answered to satisfaction, the right therapy practice has been found and it should be possible to return to sports as soon as possible. Better than any therapy, however, is prevention in order to prevent injuries in the first place.