How to Prevent Injury in Sport
Sports are starting to get back into full swing again! Yay!
Winter is primetime for indoor sports in Canada, and with increase in sports, unfortunately can come an increased in injuries.
Keep reading to learn about how to not only treat, but work on prevention for any sports, at any age!
Let's start with the basics, what kind of injuries do we see with sport? Most of the time, they are traumatic in nature, and we see sprains, strains, tears and dislocations as well as concussions. Let's discuss these in detail.
Sprains: This is damage to a ligament. The ligament is connective tissue that connects bone to bone, a common one people know of being the ACL in the knee. Depending on the ligament, certain sudden movements or direct trauma can cause sprains, with intense trauma leading to tears. Sometimes even chronic wear and tear can lead to this if there is a biomechanical issue not being addressed. Sprains are graded on a scale of 1 to 3, with one being mild and a quicker recovery and three being a complete tear.
Strains: Similar to the above sprains, but involving muscle and tendons. Again this tends to be traumatic in sport, but can also be from wear and tear and chronic strains if biomechanics are not addressed. The grading is the same as above
Dislocations: Most common in the shoulder, but can be seen at any joint, this is when the joint has gone outside its normal range of motion, and essentially "popped" out of place
Concussion: A mild traumatic brain injury, our knowledge surrounding concussions continues to grow at an immense pace. Any trauma to the body or brain can cause a concussion, and it does not require losing consciousness. In a sporting environment, it is very important that all stakeholders, including coaches, training staff and parents, are aware of basic concussion screening, red flags and when to refer to medical professional. The CRT5, or Concussion Recognition Tool, is a great thing to have on hand at sport events to screen for a concussion if necessary.
Alright, so let's talk prevention. We will mostly be focusing on prevention for the first 3 types of injuries, but if you are interred in learning more about concussions, check out the University of Calgary and their work in the Integrated Concussion Research Program.
Preparing the body correctly prior to sport can be a big preventive step. Generalized warm ups aren't bad per se...but the more we can hone in on what helps us with our sport the better. Cardiovascular warmups are great, to get the blood moving and the muscles warm. Dynamic stretching is also a great choice, priming the joints and muscles by taking them though their range of motion in slow and controlled ways. For my soccer players out there, check out the FIFA 11 Plus training
Cooling down can be helpful for recovery, as it gets to that state faster then if we just walked off the field and jumped in the car. Recovery is key to keeping muscle healthy. This includes proper sleep, nutrition, and stress control.
Training outside of sport specific practices can also be a large help in injury prevention. Cross-athlete sports have been shown to be better athletes overall. What does this look like? Let's take a hockey player as an example. In Alberta, hockey is easily played all year round now. But something to consider is proper off-ice training in the gym, yoga for mental and physical relaxation and balance, as well as introducing a variety of school sports or even playing something like lacrosse in the summer.
If you do end up with an injury, don't worry. Coming into clinic for a thorough assessment by myself can be the key to returning to play. Proper diagnosis and care can prevent reinjury, and may even get you on the field or ice faster than if you tried to manage at home.
Have a new or nagging injury you want looked at? Book with me now at Movement Performance and Health!