Are Athletes More Prone to Injury since Covid?


Derek Bodner, The Athletic

76ers’ Joel Embiid suffers a tear in his right knee during last season’s playoffs.

Ruby Moxley, Staff Writer

If you’re a big NBA fan, chances are you’ve seen one of those backbreaking falls or wincing ankle rolls that you watch happen so often to athletes during professional sports games. And if you’re a true NBA fan, you’ve noticed the massive amount of injuries the basketball industry has had just this past year.

Turns out, there may be a deeper cause of this huge upturn in injuries: Covid.

As much as this is an issue for our nation’s basketball teams, numerous injuries have also occurred on a much smaller scale. It’s not basketball-specific, either. There have been substantial injuries in our community and H-F among a range of our fall sports. 

The injuries I’ve seen and experienced this year, on our H-F sports teams, made me wonder if this large increase of injuries is because of the sudden change in movement, since so many athletes have been returning to the sports that they haven’t played since the start of Covid. 

After further research, I found out I have not been the only one to raise this question. NBA star Lebron James had apparently been discouraging last season’s shortened schedule, for this very reason. But to balance revenue from the previous year, the NBA did it anyway.

That season, there were 19% more games missed by our all-stars than any other previous season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. 

I decided to talk to one of H-F’s head physical trainers, Danni Warner, to see if she had any thoughts. I asked how many injuries she thinks we’ve had this year in comparison to previous seasons. “I’m not sure I would say more, necessarily. There are more in specific sports, due to Covid-related inactivity,” Warner said. “There have definitely been the most in girl’s volleyball and football; football just because of the amount of players and the intensity of the sport.” 

“It’s important to be forgiving with yourself. The past two years have been something no one has ever experienced. When your body is not where it normally is physically, take the time it takes to get your body back to what it should be.” Covid has had many tolls, and will continue to have many effects even after we return to our sports. Hopefully the injuries will die down as athletes once again settle back into their routine, but until then we need to be mindful of injury risk and what we can do to prevent it.