Dirt bike racing is one of those sports where the odds are high that at some point a dirt bike accident is bound to happen. Whether you're on a flat track course, jumping triples on a motocross track or tooling through the woods honing your skills, the possibility of a dirt bike crash is always on the horizon.

The very nature of racing at high speeds on a high-speed machine plus the added factor of multiple riders maneuvering their bikes to negotiate a piece of the course serves up the perfect cocktail for a dirt bike crash. Riding on a less than stellar outdoor track with compromised course conditions adds another negative factor to the equation.

Your entire body is vulnerable when racing as there isn't much to protect you from the track and riders. Your full body weight is exposed to twists, turns, jumps, bumps and G forces that stretch and strain the most well conditioned body. Even with the best outerwear and protective equipment, injuries happen. Some injuries may be a minor blip on the screen that an aspirin and heating pad will fix while others may impair your riding abilities for a while or sideline your dirt bike racing activities for an extended period.

For those who may be thinking about or just getting started in dirt bike racing, and riders who may have been fortunate and not been involved in a dirt bike accident, below is a "short list" of the most common injuries a dirt bike rider may encounter. The information gives you an idea of what to expect, some of the risks involved and suggested dirt bike protective gear to minimize an injury.

1. Knee injuries are at the top of the list. Of the four major ligaments - ACL, MCL, LCL and PCL - the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) receives high marks for the most injured ligament area. Using a motocross knee brace is your best bet at avoiding or reducing the impact to your knee in the event of a crash.

2. The shoulder joint along with the rotator cuff and its network of tendons and muscles provide riders with the flexibility needed to maintain, maneuver and control a bike. Impacts to the shoulder can cause a rotator cuff tear that may require physical therapy. Try using a dirt bike shoulder support on rides to help prevent shoulder joint injuries.

3. Collarbone breaks are also high on the list of injuries sustained in a dirt bike accident. A direct hit to the collarbone or shoulder area can result in a break or fracture. During a fall from a bike, if your arm is stretched out or at an awkward angle, the impact can result in a broken collarbone. Dirt bike neck braces provide support for collarbone injuries in addition to protecting your neck.

4. The acromioclavicular joint (AC) is one of the weaker areas of the shoulder area. It is the joint where the collarbone and shoulder blade meet creating the AC joint. A direct impact to the AC joint, such as a fall, can cause a strain or separation of the ligaments. Shoulder supports are your best bet in avoiding this type of injury.

5. Sprains affect the wrists and ankles. Both are the result of ligaments torn or stretched beyond normal limits. Sprains range from first-degree to third-degree in severity with first-degree rated at mild to moderate in terms of pain and swelling while third-degree sprains result in higher levels of pain, bruising and swelling that affect the stability of the sprained area. You may be off your bike for a while with a third-degree sprain. An ankle brace and a pair of motocross boots are your best defense against a sprained ankle. Protect your wrists with dirt bike elbow and wrist guards.

When riding it's always best to practice safe riding techniques and learn how to ride defensively and strategically to avoid crashes. Wear complete protective gear from head to toe. Stay in good physical condition so that in the event of an accident, your body will be strong making the healing process that much quicker.

Be safe out there!