Sports Injuries and Sports Performance/Recovery

Sports injuries refer to traumatic injuries resulting from participation in sports and include brain injuries (concussions), soft tissue injuries (sprains, sprains), and bone fractures. The injuries result in mechanical disruption of tissue (tear, stretch, shear) that is compounded by inflammation.

Sports Performance/Recovery refers to preparation, training, and participation that attempts to best prepare the athlete to minimize injury, maximize performance, and accelerate recovery of tissue after performance.

What are the effects?

Sports injuries are characterized by swelling, bleeding, deformity, and loss of function that inhibits performance and return to play.

Benefits from HBOT

Sports injuries are wounds to the body. HBOT is a treatment for wounds in any location and of any duration. When delivered immediately before a sports performance, HBOT can minimize the effects of injury. When delivered as soon after injury as possible, HBOT acts on the injured tissue to repair the wounds and decrease inflammation. To maximize sports performance and recovery, HBOT is most beneficial immediately after intense workouts in which anaerobic metabolism is incurred (sprinting, intense weight-lifting, speed workouts, etc.) During these types of sports activities, the muscles burn fuel without oxygen and generate toxic byproducts, accumulating what is known as “oxygen debt.” When HBOT is delivered after intense workouts, the oxygen debt is lessened or erased, and the tissues are prepared for the next workout. This was most powerfully demonstrated by Dr. Keith Van Meter in the most severe oxygen debt condition, cardiac arrest. Dr. Van Meter was able to resuscitate pigs after 25 minutes of heart stoppage (cardiac arrest) and “irreversible” oxygen debt accumulation with a single HBOT session (see below). The Vancouver Canucks proved the effectiveness of HBOT for acute sports injuries in their 1993-4 season (reported in Sports Illustrated June, 1994). HBOT is finding widespread common use in athletes at all levels of competition and in all sports for both sports performance and recovery.

Case Study

One of the most demonstrative cases of HBOT effects on sports injuries and performance/recovery is the story of All-Pro linebacker Bill Romanowski, whose story is told in the Oxygen Revolution. Bill was using HBOT for performance enhancement in 2000-1 season and was exhausted by mid-season. After a call to Dr. Harch, it was recommended that Bill start using HBOT after his injuries and games, rather than before. The result was that Bill finished the season and continued to play for several more years. After he was traded to Oakland and no longer received supportive HBOT, the cumulative effects of concussion mounted and forced his retirement. He was subsequently treated with multiple courses of HBOT for residual injury, which has facilitated his successful business and family life.

Further Research

https://www-ncbi-nlm-nih-gov.ezproxy.lsuhsc.edu/pubmed/18486298 (Dr. Van Meter’s resuscitation of cardiac arrested pigs).

Bill Romanowski’s and other athlete’s stories in the Oxygen Revolution, page 195

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