Summer is over and the smell of fall sports is strong. Make sure the athlete in your family is prepared, minimizing the likelihood of injury.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2012) high school athletes account for an estimated two million injuries, 500,000 doctor visits and 30,000 hospitalizations each year. What’s more, the injuries are unlike those of the past. Sports now require more extensive training, more intense practices, and added game time. With the inevitability of overuse, it’s important to know how to prevent injury.
These easy steps can help you avoid injury, ensuring longer play-time and a painless season. Well, bad pain at least!
Many schools require pre-participation exams, or “sports physicals.” These assessments of health can catch a medical condition that could ultimately end in injury. Start the season off on the right foot.
Without regular exercise, your muscles and joints will not be adequately prepared for strenuous physical activity. Rather than risking over-exertion, a pulled muscle, or complete exhaustion, keep physically active. (For you winter sport players, start now!)
The warm-up. We’ve heard it’s important, and it’s not joke. Starting any exercise regimen without a proper warm-up can give you a one-way ticket to injury town. Warming-up helps break down the chemical complex of oxygen, which enables it to separate from the blood (allowing its delivery to the muscle for better performance). Warming up also helps you avoid exercise induced cardiac abnormalities by increasing blood flow to the heart. One last take-away, warming up helps your muscles get used to the idea of being pushed to their limits. This can help minimize muscle soreness.
Don’t be a hero:
Stop when it hurts. Your body is telling you something if you’re in pain. If you don’t listen to the pain receptors, you could be making the situation worse. Say you have a stress fracture. Odds are that with a little TLC and physical therapy you’re en route to a speedy recovery, getting you back in the game. What’s unfortunate is when you don’t take this warning sign seriously, and continue to play. Consequently, your bench time just increased, and your injury worsened.
Let’s go team!