A guest blog from Athletic Trainer Rachel Sharpe
In the world of sports, injuries seems to be part of the game. This is sometimes true. Athletes can’t save themselves from every bump and bruise they will receive participating in a physical game; however, there are a number of injuries that they can prevent by remembering a few key tips:
1. Wear properly fitted clothing and equipment.
This seems like a no brainer but often athletes are playing in shoes that are too small, knee pads that are too big, or shorts that are way too long. These simple misfits can turn into much larger issues such as painful blisters on their feet, knee contusions because the pads can’t stay in the right place or bruised or broken parts due to falling over clothing that doesn’t allow proper movement.
2. Stay well fed and hydrated.
Many people underestimate the importance of fueling their body. Let’s compare your body to a car. A car cannot function without gasoline. Same for your body. It has to have “fuel” (food) as well. Similarly, if a car is supposed to run on diesel, it doesn’t perform well with unleaded gas. An athlete’s body can function on a diet loaded with fats and soda but will only perform at its best with the best fuel – carbohydrates, proteins, electrolytes, water, etc. Without access to these fuels, the body begins to break down resulting in injury. The NCAA provides some good information about athlete nutrition on their website.
3. Get enough sleep.
It’s not unusual that sleep is the one thing that gets sacrificed when we get busy and have things to do, but this habit does more harm than good, especially for athletes. Your body gets its best chance to recuperate and recover while you are sleeping. A constant state of sleep deprivation will result in a continual lack of recovery and over time this inability to recover will eventually lead to injury.
Each of these tips are easy to carry out. They just take a little more planning, time management and thinking ahead, but the little bit of work on the front end is well worth it when the result is an injury-free season or career!