Friday, 18 January 2013

Injury Prevention

Too often an athlete’s season is ended or hindered by injury that could have been prevented. It is not only the responsibility of the coach and athletic trainer to prevent injury, but the athlete’s themselves. There are certain steps that can aid an athlete in lowering their chance of injury.

Training and Conditioning
It is essential that the athlete maintain a consistently high level of fitness during the preseason,
the competitive season, and the off-season. A consistently high fitness level not only helps
prevents injury, but increases the performance standard of the athlete. It is important to
incorporate strength training in the proper way, for example the competitive season is not for
building in the weight room, but for maintaining.

Safe environment & Proper equipment and gear

Weather, playing surface, temperature, and clothing type can all affect the health and
performance of an athlete. Be aware that when playing in high temperatures the body cannot
sustain a lower temperature easily leading to heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Be sure that where
practice or play happen the grounds are clean and well kept to avoid any accidents. When the
weather is cold or hot the athlete must dress appropriately in order to avoid letting their body
become too cold or hot, it really does matter what you wear. Be sure that all gear fits properly
and is up to date performing its function. Shoes are extremely important to prevent all sorts of
injury. Be sure to buy shoes that are specific for your sport, that fit properly both in the length
and width, that form to your foot and help correct any defects, give the proper support, and
that are not worn out and old.

Nutrition & Medication
A well balanced diet is the best way to have the fuel necessary to compete at a high level. If the
body is not receiving enough vitamins and nutrients from a balanced diet, then supplements
can help. When the body does not receive enough of what it needs, a break down in the
muscles can happen, which will lead to muscle soreness and cramping. Do not overdue it with
supplementation though, what the body does not need it will dispose of, talk to your athletic
trainer or doctor about proper supplementation.
Always consult your physician before taking any over the counter or prescriptive drugs.
Medications have a wide variety of side effects that dramatically affect the athlete, such as
decreased coordination, increase body temperature, or increasing dehydration. Be aware that
medications are needed in certain situations, for example asthma.

The importance of water replacement cannot be stressed enough in injury prevention. An
athlete should always be well hydrated throughout the day. When the body lacks in water
it cannot perform properly, can lead to muscular problems, headaches, heat disorders, or
dehydration. Gatorade and/or PowerAde can also help hydrate the body while supplying the
proper mineral needed for exercise.

Warm-up & Stretch
The body must be prepared before it can perform. Cold muscles will turn into hurt muscles.
Always begin each activity with a proper warm-up incorporated with a stretch together
lasting about 15-30 minutes. Without a warm-up the body is at high risk for injury, and the
performance level of the athlete will decrease. Always end with a cool down and a stretch to
decrease muscle soreness. Remember muscle soreness is not an injury and can be reduced with
a proper warm-up, cool down, and stretch.


The body will not heal unless it is given time to rest. Injuries need time to heal that is the main
factor; without the time needed they will not heal properly. Injuries can occur when the athlete
does not get enough sleep, because the athlete is weaker, less coordinated and less emotionally
motivated. Always try to get at least 8 hours of sleep a night.

Online resource for Sports Injury & Prevention.

Sports Injury & Prevention UK

Sports Injury Prevention Resource Centre


Stop Sport Injuries