Ultimate Frisbee: Common Injuries and Tips for Prevention

Whether you engage in the exciting sport of Ultimate Frisbee or you’re toying with joining a local club, your goal is to play, not sit on the sidelines. Any time you take to a competitive field, your risk of injury rises as you push your body for the love of your sport, not to mention adding a W to your team’s column. 

At our practice, Siatta Dunbar, DO, CAQSM Sports Medicine, Dr. Dunbar specializes in sports medicine with an eye toward prevention, as well as quick rehab if you’re injured. For clients in Burnsville, Minnesota, who have joined the seven million men, women, and children around the world who play Ultimate Frisbee, here’s a quick look at injury potential and a few tips to help you stay in the game.

Ultimate Frisbee is the ultimate combination

Ultimate Frisbee was first dreamed up in 1968 by a group of students at Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey. The sport takes tossing a frisbee on a beach to the next level by rolling it into a game that combines football, soccer, and basketball — three sports that require superior athleticism and agility.

With pivoting, running, diving, throwing, catching — you name it — Ultimate Frisbee really is the ultimate combination of some of our more popular high-energy and fast-paced sports. And this means there’s plenty of room for injury if you aren’t careful.

Most common Ultimate Frisbee injuries

A study conducted in 2015 among Ultimate Frisbee players in a collegiate setting found that there are several specific aspects of the sport that run a higher risk of injury, including:

Laying out while catching the disc Covering cutters and positioning to receive a pass Cutting Jumping Running Catching

And though Ultimate Frisbee is considered a non-contact sport, 50% of injuries occur in player-to-player contact, as well as player-to-ground contact.

Unfortunately, this study also found that Ultimate Frisbee had one of the highest number of injuries among club sports (only rugby had more), and women outpaced men by two to one when it came to injuries, especially ankle and lumbar/flank injuries.

The top reported injuries in this study — in order of prevalence — affected the:

Knees Ankles Shins Achilles’s tendons Lower backs Flanks Hamstrings Hips and groins Quads and thighs Shoulders Wrists and hands

As you can see, the potential for injury covers you almost from head to toe. 

Preventing Ultimate Frisbee injuries

To help you from joining the ranks of injured players, there are a few steps you can take to safeguard yourself against injury, such as:

Warming up and stretching before each game or practice Wearing the right protective gear Ensuring you have the right foot gear to prevent ankle rolls Strength training

This last point is an important one because it should take place off the field and in a gym. The more you strengthen those areas that you rely on in Ultimate Frisbee, namely your knees, ankles, and shoulders, the better these joints can handle the rigors of the game. 

Another great way to prevent injury is to engage in great stretching activities, such as yoga, which ensures that your body is supple. By stretching out your soft tissues off the field through yoga, you can better protect yourself against muscle strains, tendon tears and ruptures, and ligament problems.

As a sports medicine specialist, Dr. Dunbar is happy to work with you on an injury-prevention program that not only protects your body but will likely improve your performance, too.

And if you do get injured, Dr. Dunbar and our team work with you to quickly get you back to the Ultimate Frisbee field. Simply contact us at (320) 227-6853 to get started.

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