Discussion Of Results


The results of my experiment were varied; some were surprising and some were expected. Since 90% of the players surveyed have been injured, the results displayed the galactically high injury rates in junior tennis. By playing tennis intensely for a period of time, a person almost guarantees himself an injury. Of those players who have been playing for less than 2 years, only 35% were injured, while 100% of the people who have been playing for 3 or more years have had an injury. Although only 9% of the injuries reported required physical therapy or surgery, 100% of the injuries required some time-off; time is priceless to juniors who aspire to become professionals.


Children do not like going to the doctor, and often it is the last resort, but junior tennis players learn quickly that the sooner the injury is dealt with by a doctor, the sooner players can focus on building a winning game. Out of the injuries reported, 83% required doctor's attention. These doctors have the power to make or break a person's tennis career through choosing the correct method of recovery. Most players use the ice/heat method for varying injuries; ice is also applied after tournaments or intense practice to prevent muscle soreness the next day. A popular method of treatment now is massage therapy, which gets blood to move through the body to the point of injury. Variety of treatments in sports medicine is limited, but it is expanding at a fast rate. Not only is the doctor responsible for recovery, but also for teaching methods of prevention. In order to teach this, he needs to know the causes. I explored the "accepted" causes for injury and found that some play a bigger role than others.



In the experiment involving the speed of serves with different types of racquets, the speed of the serves only varied slightly. The extended racquet, advertised as giving more power, added an average of 1 mph to each serve, which is insignificant. The biggest contributor to the increase of power in tennis is that stronger athletes are playing the game and taking it to new levels. Extended racquets are the most popular on the market, yet 59% of the juniors that use them suffer no arm injuries. Maybe the added power is not the cause of injury, but the added length. Perhaps its effect on the body takes time to show the damage. The wooden racquet of 20 years ago also did not slow down the serve by a significant amount, which would ease the power's damaging impact on the arm. The results prove that the type of racquet does not increase or decrease injury rates.



The quality of a shoe effects the welfare of the player. With all the pounding in tennis, a shoe needs to protect the body from this potential damage. Out of the 50 players surveyed, 52% suffered from some type of shoe-related injury. Perhaps players over-rely on the quality of the high-tech shoes available today. Instead of being careful, players count on the shoe to support them and do not even think about a possible broken ankle. Shoes must be changed at least every month to prevent wearing down on the bottom that cause tripping. Most of these shoe-related injuries are from not using common sense on what moves on the court will hurt the body.



Although shoes and racquets are a small factor causing injuries, the biggest issue is excessive practice time. The body cannot handle the excessive strain. Every player that practices for 2 hours or more a day has been injured. Although long lengths of practice are necessary to reach or maintain a competitive game, a person must be smart about how he practices. Practicing for 4 hours not full force is not as helpful to one's tennis game as 1 hour practicing intensely; the 1 hour practice is also easier on the body. Also the players do not do enough to prevent further injury. Only 10% of the players always stretch before a tournament, while 50% rarely stretch. By not stretching and warming-up the muscles, players increase their chances for injury, because their muscles are not prepared to work. To cut injury rates, players have to prepare their bodies for the physical exertion.


Although players hurt their bodies by playing tennis, 94% love the sport! Tennis is an addiction for junior players who risk the health of their bodies to become good at the sport they love. If the doctors in the field of sports medicine have the same passion that the players do, the doctors can find ways to make tennis a safer sport, because there is no way the juniors will stop playing!!!



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