Athletes must take special care to prevent any number of sports injuries. Here are some ideas that we recommend keeping in mind during your training.
Wear the Right Equipment
When you’re involved in contact sports, wear padding and guards to prevent bruises, bone breaks, and other sports injuries.
Football players should always wear:
- A helmet
- Shoulder pads
- Athletic support and/or cup
- A Mouth-guard
Helmets should fit snugly, not move around the head when jostled. Also, helmets with air cushions should be adjusted weekly to ensure proper function.
Soccer players should always wear:
- Shin guards
- Fast-drying athletic clothing
The National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (or NOCSAE) has qualified appropriate safety gear, and should include a stamp on any properly rated equipment.
Baseball and softball players should wear:
- Padded sliding pants
- A well fit catching mitt
and while at bat:
- Batting gloves
- A well-maintained batting helmet
All positions in baseball require slightly different gear, so be sure that your mitt, helmet, bat, and gloves are all suited to your needs as an athlete. There have been recent developments in safety gear for baseball and softball players as well, including back-of-the-knee pads for catchers (called knee-savers), full face masks, and safety eye protection. Consider these products for your next game.
Gymnasts: use wrist straps and hand guards on parallel bars, uneven bars, high bar, or rings. Eventually, you might get to the point where your bare hands have callouses, and you won’t need the hand protection. Creating callouses is difficult and time-consuming, and can cause serious injury to hands, wrists, or fingers without protective gear. There are also specialized toe-protecting shoes available for gymnasts that you might benefit from.
Warm-up and Cool-down properly
On top of proper stretching, there are various warm-up exercises you should include before playing or competing. Focus on the muscle groups that you use most often in your particular sport of choice:
For running backs and receivers, make sure your legs are limber and flexible before every game or practice. Quarterbacks should also focus on their shoulder muscles. All players should exercise their core muscles and loosen the muscles supporting the spinal column to prevent tackle or contact injuries.
Calisthenics that warm up your ankles and knees are critical. Running and kicking use all of the muscles in your legs, so be sure you’re warm from the hip flexor down to each toe. Soccer is also highly aerobic, so getting your blood pumping and breathing rate up before you start to play is also beneficial.
Baseball and Softball
Spend time exercising your shoulders. Pitching, catching, tossing, and batting all require lots of flexibility and power from the shoulder muscles. Since baseball requires athleticism in many different areas, it’s a good idea to warm up every muscle evenly. Catchers should gently stretch their hip joints and groin muscles before every game; these are easily injured groups, and much strain is placed on them throughout the course of a game.
When it comes to warming up for gymnastics, the key is to take it slow, deliberately stretching and strengthening muscles one at a time. Strength is highly necessary for feats of gymnastics, and though the impact on joints is typically low, not being properly flexible or powerful can cause serious injury.
All athletes should implement a cool-down routine. Your body does not benefit from an immediate halt to athletic activity. Instead, spend some time stretching after practices or games, or take a brief walk. Cool-downs help your muscles relax from a workout, and fosters healthy flexibility and muscle development.
Know Your Skill Level and Limits
One of the most important things an athlete can learn is where their individual limits are. Pushing oneself to persevere is admirable, and one of the best ways to improve.
Pushing yourself beyond your safe limit is not a way to grow as a competitor or athlete.
Injuries are most likely to occur when you are out of control of your body or have overextended beyond your ability level. If you sense you may be injured, trust your instincts. The consequences of injuring yourself can be very severe, and may limit your ability to perform in the future.
Regardless of what type of sports injury you have, Absolute Life Wellness Center is ready to treat you, and get you back to health. Contact the clinic closest to you to start healing today.