The best way to treat an injury may be to never allow that injury to occur in the first place. Many teams and facilities are beginning to take a preventative approach to injury in a bid to protect student athletes from harm that can bring a sports season to an end or lead to longterm health problems. A new report taking a look at the efforts of a Massachusetts-based injury prevention center offers some quality insights into what athletes can do to protect themselves.
Representatives of the facility explain that the prevention techniques taught will depend on the sport being addressed. For instance, women who play basketball or soccer should take steps to limit their exposure to an ACL injury, while those involved with things like dancing have to be aware of issues involving the knees and ankles.
When it comes to runners, many put themselves at an immediate disadvantage simply because they don’t run in the proper manner, their form leaving them open to potential fractures and other injuries. Many times, all it takes is a simple adjustment to one’s gait to offset the risk of injuries that derive from overuse or repeated impacts. For instance, if a runner lands on their heels when they put down their feet on the pavement, they may need to be conditioned to strike with the front or middle of their feet.
Much of the advice on hand focuses on the ways that the facility is attempting to get athletes to take concussion protection into their own hands. The Micheli Center’s director explains that equipment can only get you so far. Relying only on gear and not taking into consideration some of the other steps that can be taken tends to result in the concussion threat being taken less seriously.
Instead, athletes are asked to develop an understanding of those ways to avoid the circumstances surrounding concussions. That means steering clear of executing or being privy to the types of hits that often lead to a concussion. Lowering the head, for instance, can dramatically increase the concussion hazard in sports like hockey and football. Always looking up and being cognizant of the upcoming hit and learning to flex neck muscles in anticipation are vital to limiting concussion exposure.
The way that athletes work out can further reduce the risk of concussions. That means not only speed training and generally getting in shape for the season, but working out the muscles of the neck so that the head is supported when a hit does occur. Finally, the benefits of getting plenty of sleep should not be underestimated.