Preventing Football Injuries
Football is not only one of the most-watched sports on T.V, but also one of the most popular sports to play among athletes of all ages. Due to its high speed, full-contact and physical nature, serious injuries related to Football are far more common than in any other sport, making it crucial that athletes of all ages are educated properly on how to prevent injuries related to football.
If you or someone you know has recently suffered an injury related to football, HealthX has dedicated and experienced professionals that offer the latest methods for treating your injury. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!
How can you avoid a major injury in football? Continue reading to find out!
All athletes should maintain their physical fitness throughout the year, especially during the off-season. Engage in a pre-season workout routine that includes a combination of strength training and aerobic exercise to ensure you are in good condition when the season rolls around again. Entering the season in-shape not only makes playing easier, but reduces the risk of injury.
Warm-Up & Cool Down
Prior to any game or practice, make sure that you have time set to go through a warm-up. Not only are cold muscles more susceptible to injury, but increasing your body and muscle temperature mitigates the risk of an injury.
Warm up stretches should be dynamic and isolate muscles such as the calves, quadriceps, groin muscles, shoulders and chest. Dynamic stretches can include:
- High Knees & Butt-Kickers
- Leg Kicks
An often neglected part of preventing injuries in football is the cool-down. Taking part in a cool-down stretching period allows your body to recover from the intense amount of activity by bringing your body temperature and heart rate back to normal. Not only that, but it assists in increasing the flexibility of your muscles while getting rid of lactic acid, what makes your muscles sore the next day. Cool-down stretches are mostly static, and should focus on areas such as:
Perhaps the best way to reduce the risk of injury in football is ensuring you have the proper equipment on hand. Each athlete should have the following pieces of equipment:
- Helmet, Facemask, Chinstrap and Mouth guard
- Shoulder Pads
- Hip & Tail Pads
- Back Plates or Rib Protection
- Jock Strap/Athletic Cup
Low levels of hydration can hurt your athletic performance, but more importantly, it leaves you more susceptible to injury. Make sure that you drink the recommended amount of water (24 ounces/700 ml) before any game or practice and hydrate your muscles after physical activity.
Common Football Injuries
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury which in the case of football, is usually caused by a direct blow to the head. Although common, there are measures each player can take in order to mitigate the risk of a concussion. These include:
- Wearing the proper protective head gear is crucial. Without the proper fitting helmet, you substantially increase the chances of a concussion. View the Football Helmet Fitting Guide
- Integrate neck-strengthening exercises into your training routine – your neck muscles actually absorb much of the force during a blow to the head, therefore an increase in strength means a lower chance of concussions
- Learn and use proper tackling techniques.
Sprains & Strains
Very common in all sports, muscle, tendon or ligament sprains/strains can occur on various parts of the body. A sprain occurs when there is stretching or tearing of a ligament. Whereas a strain occurs when the same happens to a muscle or tendon. Both instances should be attended to immediately and should not be taken lightly, as rushing back into action may result in a more serious injury.
Due to the physicality and high intensity of the game, injuries to ligaments such as the ACL, MCL and ankle ligaments are very common. These injuries can require surgery (ACL rupture) and vigorous rehabilitation programs over the course of 6 -12 months.
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