Athletes in all contact sports have many opportunities to get a muscle contusion (bruise). Contusions are second only to strains as a leading cause of sports injuries.
Most contusions are minor and heal quickly, without taking the athlete needing to be removed from the game. But, severe contusions can cause deep tissue damage and can lead to complications and/or keep the athlete out of sports for months.
Contusions occur when a direct blow or repeated blows from a blunt object strike part of the body, crushing underlying muscle fibers and connective tissue without breaking the skin. A contusion can result from falling or jamming the body against a hard surface.
Sometimes a pool of blood collects within damaged tissue, forming a lump over the injury (hematoma).
In severe cases, swelling and bleeding beneath the skin may cause shock. If tissue damage is extensive, you may also have a fractured bone, dislocated joint, sprain, torn muscle, or other injuries.
Contusions to the abdomen may damage internal organs.