Athletes that participate in mixed martial arts know to expect injuries. It’s just part of the sport. However, they may not realize the seriousness of the injury and the long-term damage it can inflict. Permanent damage often results from the person returning to fighting before they have completely healed.
The most common and most serious damage results from hits to the head. With MMA, concussions are seen fairly often, and many people think little about them. After all, the main prescription for healing is just rest. Once the person feels fine again, they are ready to resume fighting. However, it doesn’t always mean they should.
MMA concussions can cause long-term damage, especially when they happen multiple times. One such condition is called postconcussive syndrome. The person doesn’t return back to normal after a concussion should have been healed. They may exhibit signs from the concussion for a longer than normal period, such as forgetfulness and loss of interest in activities. They may continue to have headaches and experience periods of dizziness.
Long-term damage is even more likely when a person begins their fighting career in their teens while the brain is still developing. The brain can actually fail to develop fully because of the injuries. Even adults who end up with numerous concussions may lose their ability to speak and move and even learn.
While brain injuries are the most concerning for many people, other long-term effects come from participating in MMA and other sports. Increased joint pain as one gets older is to be expected with more severe arthritis a possibility.
Broken bones heal, but they don’t always recover to the point of where they were before the injury. Many times, these areas become weaker and damage more easily with future competitions. Torn ligaments and other injuries often require attention later in life after the person retires from the sport.
For example, it’s likely the person will require surgery to clean up scar tissue or for knee replacement as they get older because of the damage from the sport in their younger years. While all of these health issues can happen to anyone regardless of their past activities, statistics show athletes have more health problems because of the long-term damage to their bodies.
Preventing Permanent Damage
The only way to prevent all long-term and permanent effects from the sport is by not participating. Of course, this is unlikely to happen for those who love MMA, boxing or other contact sports. The next best advice is to protect yourself with the proper equipment and take care of yourself when you’re injured. Don’t return to the sport too soon, and always get a doctor’s clearance before you do.
Check out the protective gear from Gamebreaker to help you prevent injury before you get in the cage.