Success Stories of Hyperbaric Chamber to Treat Sports Related Injuries

Chloe Paltrow
May 21, 2018 · 4 min read
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Cristiano Ronaldo, Novak Djokovic, Terrell Owens, Darren Sharper, and Tim Tebow. All of these sports personalities have something in common other than being the best of their game. These distinguished sportsmen have used hyperbaric chamber time and again either to gain active recovery or to treat sports-related wounds such as muscle strain, ligament tear, TBI, and concussions.

Whether you are a minor league sportsman or a professional, injuries are an inevitable part of every sportsperson’s life. Professional and recreational sportspersons can get these injuries while playing on the field or during day-to-day training. Therefore, to recover in time and start playing again, athletes will have to take care of themselves, both physically and mentally.

Hyperbaric Therapy for Athletes: A Way of Active Recovery

In Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, the patient is put in a hyperbaric chamber where he/she breathes in 100 percent pure oxygen under an air pressure slightly higher than the normal sea level air pressure. Researchers have found that the healing process of sports-related injuries follows a consistent and natural path and takes place in three stages — inflammatory, proliferative, and remodeling. Oxygen plays an important role in the healing of the wounds and is a common element in all of the three stages.

Thus, many clinicians and professional players consider HBOT as an effective treatment modality and wound-healing accelerator to gain active recovery and heal sports-related injuries. This article will be highlighting the success stories of sports personalities who used hyperbaric chamber for injury treatment and active recovery.

Hyperbaric Chamber Success Stories for treating Sports Wounds

  • Terrel Owens uses Hyperbaric Chamber to return to Super Bowls:

Back in 2004 doctors had declared Terrel Owens unfit to play against the Patriots in the Super Bowl XXXIX owing to his broken leg and critical ligament injury in the right ankle. However, within 7 weeks of his injury, the former NFL wide receiver surprised and shocked the world by playing 62 out of 72 offensive snaps in the Super Bowl game and caught a total of nine passes for the 122 yards.

Owens admitted to using hyperbaric chamber as a part of his treatment and recovery process before returning to play for the Philadelphia Eagle. A 2011 study stated that HBOT had positive effects on injuries involving muscles, bones, and ligaments. Since his astonishing return to the game more than a decade ago, Owens’s performance was hailed as one of the most courageous in the history of Super Bowl.

  • Novak Djokovic uses Hyperbaric Chamber for Active Recovery:

Tennis star Novak Djokovic admitted in 2017 of using hyperbaric chamber for active recovery and to gain an edge on the field. Djokovic, the winner of 12 single grand slams, said that he uses the hyperbaric chamber to recover from the exhaustion of long-drawn tennis matches. “I think this (chamber)really helped. Not for the muscles, but more for recovering after an exhausting match. It is like a spaceship, a very interesting technology”, said Djokovic when asked about this unconventional treatment modality.

Djokovic also said that he tries to use the hyperbaric chamber whenever possible but unfortunately does not have access to it everywhere he goes. The tennis superstar admits that the chamber has benefited him immensely and says that many top ranking players in the world resort to this treatment for active recovery and injury healing capabilities.

  • Hyperbaric Chamber Aids Michael Phelps Recover From Training:

As stated above, the hyperbaric chamber is not always used as a treatment modality. It can also be utilized to boost the body’s recovery process from regular, intensive training. World-renowned swimmer Michael Phelps uses the chamber to recover faster from his intensive day-to-day training. Phelps admitted that with growing age the recovery process of the body slows down, which is why he resorted to using the hyperbaric chamber to fasten up the process. The 16-time Olympic medalist states that the experience was “strange” but “good” and helps him to bounce back to the game faster.

  • Bill Romanowski used Hyperbaric Chamber for Concussions:

During his long career of 16 years with the National Football League (NFL) Bill Romanowski had suffered at least 20 concussions, which ultimately lead him to retire from professional football. In a 2009 interview, Romanowski spoke openly about his injuries and the impact it had on his life. The now retired player states that in the last couple of years of his professional football career he would often forget things, which are right in front of him, or slurred and mixed up words while talking.

“I would look for my car keys around the house and the keys were in my hand the whole time. I slurred my words; I was mixing words up. I would listen to my all-time favorite song on the radio and not remember who sang it,” said Romanowski.

However, Romanowski’s health condition improved significantly after he started using a hyperbaric chamber. Since his retirement, Romanowski vouches for hyperbaric oxygen therapy and has recommended it other NFL players battling with head injuries and concussions.

Final Takeaway:

Hyperbaric Chamber is widely used by athletes to treat sports-related injuries and has become a novel way to recover actively from the exhaustive daily training and games. However, before starting the hyperbaric oxygen therapy an athlete must always consult a medical professional to get to know the treatment better and to determine how long or many sessions he/she must undertake for recovery and treatment.

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