The Game-Changer for Sports Injuries: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

By Lisa St. John, M.S.
The Game-Changer for Sports Injuries: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Athletes we have treated tell us that hyperbaric oxygen therapy helped heal their sports injuries and shortened athletic recovery times by 50% or more. Athletes of all levels, from high school to professional, note that HBOT reduces swelling and pain almost immediately.

Expedite Recovery from Sports-related Injuries

Sports injuries are common for athletes at all levels. Numerous professional athletes embrace hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) as a part of their recovery regimen and have reported exceptional results. We have seen NFL players, soccer stars, MMA champions, and high school athletes with concussions, torn ligaments, muscle tears and strains. All of the athletes we have seen have experienced faster healing and shortened rehabilitation periods for a quicker return to peak performance.

Athletes often tell us that HBOT reduces swelling and pain almost immediately. The increased oxygen supply stimulates the body's natural healing processes and promotes tissue repair, making it a game-changer for athletes looking to expedite their recovery from sports-related injuries. In fact, some of our athlete patients have told us that HBOT cuts the time to heal from injury by one half or more. Daniel Cormier, world champion MMA fighter, received an injury from one bout that required him to walk with crutches. After only two hyperbaric sessions, he was back to running and his normal workout regimen.

How HBOT Accelerates Healing

  1. Enhanced Oxygen Delivery: The primary mechanism behind HBOT's effectiveness lies in its ability to flood the body with high levels of oxygen. This increased oxygen supply helps to revitalize damaged tissues, boost collagen production, and promote the formation of new blood vessels, fostering a more rapid healing response. Oxygen is a crucial component in the body's healing process. Damaged tissues need more of it to heal. However, inflammation and scar tissue make it more difficult for oxygen to reach damaged tissues. During HBOT treatments, you breathe 100% oxygen under increased pressure, which increases oxygen in the blood by over 1,200%. This allows it to reach deeper tissues and areas with restricted blood flow due to injury. 
  2. Reduced Inflammation: Sports injuries often lead to inflammation, which can delay the recovery process. HBOT has been found to decrease inflammation by reducing the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines, leading to faster resolution of swelling and pain.
  3. Neurological Repair: Injuries to the nervous system, such as concussions, anoxic brain injury, traumatic brain injury and nerve damage can significantly impact an athlete's performance. Research has shown clear evidence that HBOT supports neurological repair by stimulating brain cell regeneration, down regulating inflammation and swelling, and improving nerve conduction.
  4. Improved Immune Function: The new oxygen-rich environment increases the number and enhances the functioning of white blood cells, bolstering the immune system's response to infection and facilitating tissue repair. It also promotes the production of white blood cells and enhances their ability to fight infections. This immune-boosting effect can be particularly beneficial for athletes recovering from open wounds or surgical procedures, reducing the risk of infection and expediting recovery.
  5. Accelerated wound healing: Increased oxygen levels support the growth of new tissue and help repair damaged blood vessels, leading to faster wound closure and reduced scarring.

As more athletes and medical professionals recognize the potential of HBOT, its integration into the standard rehabilitation protocols for sports injuries is becoming more prevalent, helping athletes return to the field, court or ice stronger and more resilient than ever before.

Common Sports Injuries Benefiting from HBOT

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy has exhibited positive results in aiding the healing of various sports-related injuries, including:

  • Muscle Tears and Strains: HBOT accelerates the repair of damaged muscle fibers, helping athletes regain strength and mobility faster after suffering muscle injuries.
  • Ligament and Tendon Injuries: For conditions like ligament sprains or tendonitis, HBOT promotes collagen synthesis, increasing the tensile strength and flexibility of these connective tissues.
  • Fractures and Bone Injuries: HBOT supports bone healing by stimulating osteoblast activity, the cells responsible for bone formation, and enhancing the production of bone-building proteins.
  • Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs): HBOT has demonstrated neuroprotective effects and can reduce swelling in the brain, aiding in the recovery process for athletes with head injuries.


  1. Effects of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy on Mitochondrial Respiration and Physical Performance in Middle-Aged Athletes: A Blinded, Randomized Controlled Trial. Amir Hadanny, et al., Sports Med Open. 2022 Feb 8;8(1):22. doi: 10.1186/s40798-021-00403-w.
  2. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy in Sports Musculoskeletal Injuries. Navid Moghadam, et al. Med Sci Sports Exerc2020 Jun;52(6):1420-1426.
Lisa St. John, M.S.
Lisa St. John, M.S.
Clinic Director and Founder

Lisa is our Clinic Director and Founder. She earned her Master’s degree from Harvard University, completed a Fellowship at Stanford University, and has spent the last 30 years working in the healthcare field.

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