I can hear you all cheering ‘Footy’s back’ and with that, it also means that sports training and games are back for many other sports as well. Winter sports season not only brings with it a whole lot of fun, slipping and sliding in the rain and mud, or battling it out inside on the courts but it also brings with it injury. Going back to sports doesn’t have to mean being sidelined though, and with some attention to your body, you can prevent damage.
Most sports injuries are caused in one of three ways, by force, direct impact or by overuse. Common injuries include head trauma, bruises, concussion, dehydration and joint and muscle injury. It is the joint and muscle injuries that we can best avoid during training and play by paying attention to technique and using the right resources to protect the body. Going back to sports and training after some time away, whether by choice or because of COVID, easing yourself back in will help reduce risk, as well as these other prevention tips:
- Warm-up – gently go through the motions of your sport, stretch and lightly walk to get your heart rate up and your joints warm.
- Brace or strap vulnerable joints – If you have joints that you know to be weak, strap or brace them, so they are less vulnerable to impact.
- Wear appropriate sports shoes – If you know you are going to be playing on a slippery surface, ensure that your shoes have a grip. Whatever sports it is that you play, make sure your footwear is appropriate for the conditions.
- Use proper technique – Be sure to follow the advice of your coach and follow proper techniques, as these are in place to protect players.
- Don’t do more than you are physically able – slowly work your fitness level up. Gradually increasing the intensity of your training as gives your body time to get to your ultimate level.
- Regularly have medical check-ups – Get those niggles checked a couple of times a year just to make sure there that it doesn’t escalate into something worse and so you can still train and play without discomfort.
- Cooldown – Just like the warm-up, cooling down sufficiently is essential to get the body and muscles stretched and loosened after the game or practice.
- Don’t forget to have fun!
When training or playing any sport, it is important to remember that most injuries are from overuse or force, so be kind to your body by slowing introducing your joints back to the rigours of training.