Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has been shown to significantly reduce injury inflammation and ameliorate pain. HBOT can also promote fibroblast/collagen activity to accelerate and enhance healing from surgeries and wounds.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a widely used treatment by many elite athletes for recovery from muscle injuries and can help athletes achieve full recovery from high-impact insults to the body. The therapy is currently used by some of the U.S. Olympic Teams to treat sports-related injuries as a part of their official medical techniques and equipment. New evidence supports HBOT as an adjunct and practical treatment to help moderate the effects of traumatic brain injuries, such as those experienced in football and similar sports.
Studies have demonstrated the following benefits of HBOT for sports-related injuries.
“The best experience of HBOT use as a recovery method from muscular fatigue occurred during the Nagano Winter Olympics with seven participating athletes. After physical activity, the athletes received HBOT treatment for 30-40 minutes at 1.3 ATA, with a maximum of six times per athlete and an average of two times of athlete. An athlete who experienced tension and sharp pain of the abdominal muscles was able to play a game after HBOT treatment with almost no pain. Another player who was experiencing anterior knee pain was treated within 2 days of injury and was able to perform afterwards with no difficulty. These test cases show that HBOT treatments demonstrate high performance without adverse effects such as muscular pain and nerve paralysis. Players were also able to benefit from the conditioning effects of HBOT treatment.”
In 2011, a case report was published involving an NFL player who suffered multiple concussions. This subsequently led to the development of hydrocephalus, which required emergency shunt brain surgery. The star athlete continued playing and won the Super Bowl, only for his shunt to fail, which led to additional emergency back-to-back surgeries. Following his surgeries, he received 40, one-hour treatments of HBOT. After the treatment protocol, he was independently assessed with neurocognitive evaluations and SPECT brain imaging by the Amen Clinic in California. Marked improvement in 5 out of 6 indices on the MicroCog assessment for cognitive functioning (a computerized assessment sequence designed to detect early signs of cognitive impairment) was confirmed, in addition to drastic enhancements with respect to SPECT imaging.
The following research highlights the benefit of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for athletes.