Water polo was originally developed as an aquatic form of rugby. It’s as physically demanding as that description would imply, and injuries are common. While many of these injuries can be avoided with the proper conditioning and precautions, here are some of the more common ones.
Facial and Head Injuries
Injuries to the face and head are common in water polo, particularly because the sport involves a lot of physical contact between players and a ball that is often thrown at high speeds. Eye injuries, facial contusions, concussions, and eardrum trauma are all fairly common, as is swimmer’s ear since the game is played in the water.
Injuries to the spine are also common in water polo, mainly because of the frequent twisting of the neck and back that occurs during the game. For example, many players find that they hurt their neck simply by turning their heads too fast. They can also injure their spine for similar reasons. Frequent play can result in chronic back pain, especially in those who don’t take the time to stretch and warm-up before a game or practice.
Injuries to the Arms and Legs
Injuries to the arms and legs can also occur in water polo due to overuse or traumatic injuries. Dislocated shoulders, torn rotator cuffs, and elbow pain from constantly throwing the ball with too much force are all common injuries. The lower extremities are also prone to muscle strain, groin injuries, and degenerative conditions in the knees. Of course, lacerations and bruises are also very common, which is to be expected in a physical sport in which a ball is thrown at high speeds.
So, now that we know about the most common water polo injuries, what is the best way to avoid them? Though it may be impossible to avoid all of these injuries during a game of water polo simply because it is such a physical game, you can still avoid the worst of these issues if you take the time to warm up before getting in the pool and taking care of yourself if you suspect that you are injured. Remember to listen to your body at all times, and know when to sit things out before a minor injury becomes much worse.