Injuries of all kinds plague athletes, but facial injuries are often the most visible and consequently, difficult to treat. These injuries require the expertise of a physician that understands the importance of preserving function as well as appearance. While all sports carry some risk of injury, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has issued a recent report on the most likely culprits of sports-related injuries during the 2011-2012 seasons.

Most Dangerous Sports

The AIHW listed sports that resulted in the highest number of sports injury hospitalisations during those two years. While these activities may be considered the most dangerous sports overall, the list for facial injury risks looks slightly different. Some of these sports include:

  • Australian Rules Football
  • Soccer
  • Rugby
  • Cricket
  • Combative Sports (boxing, kickboxing, taekwondo)

Australian Rules football was at the top of the list for sports injury hospitalisations. The sport also sees a significant number of facial injuries, often caused by tackles, collisions with another player or hits by the ball. Facial fractures tend to be seen most frequently with this sport.

Soccer and rugby tend to see a high number of fractures to the knee and lower leg, often associated with falls during play. However, participants in these sports can also experience serious facial injuries, including fractures, soft tissue injuries and lacerations. Although cricket is not a contact sport, facial injuries can occur from hard hits of the ball.

Combative sports can also be problematic in the area of facial injuries. In fact, one study of maxillofacial injuries from combative sports found that traumatic injuries to the face occurred in the large majority of athletes studied. Facial fractures, jaw dislocation and lacerations were the most common types of injuries treated.

Types of Facial Injuries

Sports injuries of the face may include a number of different types of injuries:

  • Nasal fractures – occur in more than half of all maxillofacial injuries
  • Mandibular fractures – fractures to the jaw
  • Orbital fractures – occur to the bony edges of the eye socket
  • Cheekbone fractures – can also affect the eye socket in some injuries
  • Soft tissue injuries – while not necessarily serious, these injuries can have serious aesthetic implications

Treatment of any type of facial injury should be performed as quickly as possible to improve the aesthetic outcome of the treatment. Dr Jason Roth works with patients to treat a wide range of facial injuries, including fractures and soft tissue trauma. In addition to preserving the function of the specific facial features, Dr Roth’s experience in facial plastic surgery will ensure the outcome is as aesthetically pleasing as possible. To learn more about sports-related facial injuries or your treatment options, contact Dr Roth’s office at 02 9982 3439.