Sports injuries happen to everyone – and we usually recover eventually. But sometimes the risk of reinjury increases, months of hard work is lost to rest, or, worse, you don't ever fully recovery. Your best bet, of course, is to prevent injuries from happening in the first place. We asked three experts – R. Alexander Creighton, chief of sports medicine at the University of North Carolina; Jonathan L. Chang, clinical associate professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of Southern California; and Tim McAdams, team physician for the San Francisco 49ers – to offer the most common career-ending injuries and give us their best advice on how to prevent them.
Achilles tendon tear
Surgery and physical therapy are both successful ways to address this injury, but it can still be devastating. "Although the operation is not that difficult, it's quite an extended rehabilitation for which full recovery may not be possible in some cases," says Chang. A six- to nine-month recovery time – Kobe Bryant's was more than seven months – is fairly standard.
The Fix: This one is hard to prevent because most people who tear their achilles tendon have no prior symptoms. Genetics and activity level are big factors but cross-training with elements of yoga, biking, or running may help.
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