Injury Prevention 101: What Can You Do to Avoid Sports Injuries?

Last season sucked.

While you were on the bench, your team was struggling through their worse season in a decade. And all you could do was watch helplessly from the sidelines.

Your team needed you. And yet, there was nothing you could do. You sprained your knee during the first game, and it wasn't the same for the rest of the year.

You're the captain. The team's best player. But you're human. And just like any human, you're no match for injuries. Now you're sitting at your team's end-of-year banquet, as your coaches try to soften the blow of another failed season.

And you can't help but wonder, what if.

What if you were out there with your teammates? What if you didn't play through that knee tweak? What if you didn't try to be a tough guy and just took a rest day?

But there's one thing you do know, this year's going to be different. You're going to work your butt off during the summer and take the necessary precautions to prepare your body for whatever the season brings.

5 Ways To Prevent Injuries

No one likes to get injured. Which is why we went through the process of rounding up five ways you can protect yourself against future injuries.

Believe it or not, but most injuries come down to two main factors.

As an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine expert, Dr. Andrew Cosgarea points out, "Sports injuries generally occur for two different reasons: trauma and overuse. And while traumatic sports injuries are usually obvious, dramatic scenes, like when we see a player fall down clutching their knee, overuse injuries are actually more common.”

So now that we know what injuries stem from, it's time to get into the specifics. Without further ado, here are five ways you can reduce your risk of injury:

  1. Take a Rest Day: As an athlete, sometimes the hardest thing you can do is to rest. All you want to do is train, but your body needs time to recover. And not just your muscles. Your tendons, ligaments, and bones all can break down over time, and all can benefit from a rest day now and then.
  1. Warm Up First: Jumping into game action cold is the easiest way to pop a hammy or pull a muscle. When you're cold, your muscles tend to be tight, leaving them vulnerable to tears during sudden changes in movement. When your muscles are allowed the chance to warm up first, they become more fluid and can stretch instead of tearing when they get forced beyond their limit.
  1. Take Stretching Seriously: Yup, your gym teacher wasn't lying when he told you how important it was to stretch. In fact, incorporating a stretching routine before and after your activity is the best way to prevent injuries. Stretching helps make your muscles more pliable, limber, and resistant to tearing. Yoga can also be a fantastic way to heal your body and prepare for a long season.
  1. Stick to the Plan: Work with your coaches or trainer to come up with a realistic workout plan that includes plenty of rest and recovery. The key word to keep in mind is sustainability. You want to create an exercise plan that helps you gradually improve and makes sure you're never biting off more than you can chew.
  1. Listen to Your Body: This can be very difficult for a competitor. For most athletes, if you can walk you can play. But that's a dangerous mindset. Playing through even a minor injury opens the door to more serious injuries down the line. When you get hurt, it's important you take the time you need to recover. And don't be afraid to ask for a sub. When you get tired your form becomes sloppy and your chances of an injury skyrocket.

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Your body is an amazing machine. But that doesn't mean it's invincible. If you don't prepare your body the right way, you leave yourself open to all sorts of injuries.

And I don't care who you are or how tough you are. An injury will have you on the sidelines cheering when you could be on the field helping your team win.

Above are steps you can take to help prepare your body to deal with the season ahead. By taking the appropriate precautions, you can significantly reduce the risk of an injury.

Some of them might seem excessive, but I assure you that each step will go a long way in making sure you have a healthy, successful season.

What are some common sports injuries? How are they diagnosed? And how are they treated? Learn more about sports medicine here.

Do you have any experience with sports injuries? Have any advice for someone trying to heal?

Let us know in the comments!

Author
Dr. J. Michael Bennett

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