Although sports can be a very fun way to compete against others competitively, it can also lead to injuries. Athletes of all ages experience sport-related injuries from time to time, which can make athletes miss games, weeks, or even seasons. Whether it’s during practice, games, or speed and agility training sessions, injuries can turn an athlete's world upside down.
The great thing is that every athlete can take action to help prevent these sport related injuries from occurring. Here are some important injury prevention tips parents should be teaching their young athletes, and older athletes should be utilizing to provide themselves with an optimal sports experience.
Some sports do not require much gear, but some sports do. It’s especially important that athletes are protecting themselves by wearing the correct gear. Many contact sports require players to wear helmets, shoulder pads, mouth guards, eye protection, protective cups and other forms of protective gear. As it is pretty obvious, refusing to wear necessary protective gear puts athletes at a huge risk for injuries of all types, including broken bones, concussions or injuries to the face.
Warm Up Correctly
Whether you are arriving at a practice, game, or speed and agility training, it’s very important that athletes are warming up properly. Warm-ups should be specific to whatever activity you are doing. Warm-ups should also never be rushed, and athletes should continue to warm up if they do not feel 100 percent ready. Not warming up properly can result in muscle strains, sprains, and tears, which can keep athletes sidelined for a significant period of time.
Know the Game
Another way to reduce or prevent injuries from occurring is by knowing the game inside and out. When players know the rules of the game, what’s legal and what’s not, fewer injuries happen. Not only does knowing and understanding how the game should be played help prevent injuries it also makes athletes better and makes the game more enjoyable as well.
Take Breaks / Rest when needed
During practice, games, and off-season training, taking breaks when needed will help prevent injuries, especially heat-related sickness. This doesn’t mean players should be sitting out during the conditioning portion of practice or other similar scenarios because they are “too tired”. Instead, players who are feeling severe muscle fatigue, any heat-related sickness symptoms, or any other significant factors should talk with their coach and get the attention needed to reduce the risk of any injuries.
Don’t play when injured / come back too early
As an athlete who loves sports, it can be tempting to try and come back from an injury quickly, or even continue playing while injured. Some athletes can’t stand sitting out, and can find themselves itching to get back on the field and court. However, when athletes play when injured, or try to come back from an injury too early, it can have significant setbacks to the whole injury process. Instead, players should be seeking professional care from doctors, athletic trainers, and coaches, and should never rush back to quickly from an injury.
When athletes are young, they can sometimes have trouble understanding how serious injuries can be and can become. It’s important that parents instill the importance of injury prevention to their children. Here are some other tips on how parents can help their young athlete:
- Get a preseason physical
- Encourage a variety of sports
- Make sure they rest
- Provide a healthy / well-balanced diet
- Emphasize hydration
- Emphasize proper technique and fundamentals
- Emphasize the importance of stretching, not only before and after exercise but at home as well
- Recognize injuries and get appropriate help early
Sport-related injuries are something every athlete fears. Every athlete should follow these injury prevention tips to ensure they are healthy and ready to go at all times.
At Warren Academy, we offer speed and agility training programs for youth athletes. Not only does our programs focus on better athlete’s strength and performance but maximizes their full potential through functional training methods. To learn more about our sports performance programs, visit our website today!