Male Fertility in Sports Activity

Have you ever been watching a sporting event and witnessed a player take a hit to the groin area? Most of us cringe to see an athlete bend over in pain from a hit from a baseball, a soccer ball or football tackle involving the testicles and groin area. These types of sports related injuries can cause permanent injury and lead to problems with men fathering children.

Education, self-awareness, and protection of the genital organs are essential for any male who plans on participates in sports. This includes self-exams to detect testicular cancer as well as prevention of infections and sexually transmitted diseases.

Sports physicals are recommended by the American Academy of Family Physicians, American College of Sports Medicine, and American Medical Society for Sports Medicine. A recent study of young male athletes showed that most did not understand why a genital exam is one. Any unusual swelling, pain, or abnormality to the genital area should be evaluated by a specialist.

Most testicular cancers are treatable if caught in the early stages. Routine exams are necessary. Regarding injury to the genitals, prevention is the best approach. A recent report showed that half of men playing sports do not wear genital protection during sports activity. Most of the trips to the emergency room are a result of blunt trauma such as a from a baseball bat, followed by basketball and football related injuries.

Other sports or fitness activities like bicycle riding or spinning may result in testicular pain. Repeated and/or prolonged bike riding may cause loss of sensation of the groin and in some cases affect the ability to get and maintain an erection. Extreme sports like skateboarding, BMX, and motocross have been associated with fertility problems. Injury to the genital area and scarring to the penis can hinder the ability for sperm to produce normally. Even recreational sports like paintball have resulted in injuries and hospitalization.

We encourage all males, especially these who are engaged in sports on a regular basis to do self-exams, use protection and be educated about sports related injuries and risks to ensure a successful reproductive life and good long term men’s health.