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Pennsylvania athletes: Injuries and the risk of blood clots

Blood clots may often be thought of as something that only happens in the elderly or those with preexisting blood disorders, but this isn't always true. Athletes who suffer injuries to their lower extremities may be more prone to blood clots if a vein is injured by the impact. Blood clots can lead to permanent injuries such as dead tissue and can be deadly if the clot moves into the blood stream and into the brain or lungs.

Athletes most at risk for suffering a blood clot are those who participate in sports where an object striking the skin — particularly in the legs — is common. Hockey players for instance may suffer regular blows from stray pucks or the other players' hockey sticks. These injuries can be especially serious because they do not always visibly indicate their severity, leading those injured to believe they just have bruising.

If an athlete suffers a blood clot related to a sports injury, it can end their careers for life. Once a person has experienced a blood clot, he or she has an increased risk of having blood clots in the future, especially if the player also tests positive for a protein C deficiency. These people may need to be on blood thinning medication for the rest of their lives and must avoid the risk of similar injuries.

Athletes can reduce their chances of suffering a blood clot after an injury by working closely with their doctors and trying to stay as mobile as possible to increase circulation. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the injury, those who have already experienced this type of injury and suffered physically or financially may be able to talk to an attorney about the possibility of a personal injury claim.

Source: Asbury Park Press, "Some athletes susceptible to life-threatening blood clots" Steve Wood, Oct. 20, 2014

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