for Sports Injuries & Concussions
CJ Puotinen for Carol Wilcock
September-October 2019 • Vol 3, No 106
When it comes to sports, injuries happen. Athletes of every age and skill level suffer sprains, bruises, abrasions, muscle aches, and broken bones, and in contact sports, concussions and closed-head injuries are common.
One treatment used by professional sports teams and athletes was developed in the 1940s to treat decompression sickness, the illness that results when deep sea divers return to the surface too quickly. The treatment is hyperbaric oxygen therapy, or HBOT, and it involves lying in a pressurized chamber filled with air and supplemental oxygen.
During HBOT, air pressure is slowly increased until it’s two to three times that of sea level. As patients breathe normally, their lungs absorb increased amounts of oxygen, several times as much as they do breathing air at sea level. As a result, according to HBOT advocates, super-oxygenated blood is carried throughout the body, promoting the release of growth hormones and helping the body heal.