Avoid Sports Injuries
There have been countless studies demonstrating the physical, emotional, and psychological benefits of sports, which are an important part of a healthy lifestyle at any age — whether you’re involved in youth soccer, coaching basketball, or doing football coaching or youth football drills, you’ve witnessed the positive impact sports can make in anyone’s life. However, in order to reap the full benefits, athletes, parents, coaches, and other fitness professionals must work to minimize the risk of injury inherent to athletics.
What’s the risk?
In general, the risk of injury is greater during a competitive athletic event than a practice or scrimmage. Half of all injuries are related to the legs, such as ankle sprains, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries, and nonspecific knee pain. Comparatively, 20 percent of injuries are related to the arms and upper extremities, the most common of which are shoulder injuries. Head and neck injuries account for another 10 percent, most commonly concussion. Spinal cord injuries make up the smallest percentage. Other injuries include heat illness and skin infections. Lastly, certain medical conditions can put an athlete at greater risk for injury, such as a heart condition.
Let’s focus on some basic steps that athletes, parents, and coaches can take to ensure a positive, injury-free sports experience.
Good ideas for injury prevention
- Participate in a conditioning program to build muscle strength and endurance gradually, over time
- Be sure to follow an appropriate warm-up and cool-down regimen, including flexibility exercises
- Keep a first aid kit handy, and learn how to treat minor cuts, bruises, and strains
- Have an emergency plan in place for major injuries while playing and practicing for any sport. Injury can be minimized with immediate medical help
- Dress in the most appropriate clothing and safety gear to prevent common injuries. Make sure uniforms and protective equipment fits properly, and wear all protective gear correctly at all times
- Stay hydrated
- Eat a well-balanced diet
- Use proper technique and follow the rules of your sport, as well as the rules of the facility in which you are practicing/playing
- Encourage immediate reporting of injuries
- Check your sporting equipment prior to participation for damage and proper function, and clear away any debris from your playing area