Fall Sports Tips: Stay Active and Safe

Sep 12, 2012

Close to 2 million persons in the United States were treated for football-, soccer-, and volleyball-related injuries in emergency departments and doctors’ offices during 2011.

Close to 2 million persons in the United States were treated for football-, soccer-, and volleyball-related injuries in emergency departments and doctors’ offices during 2011, according to Consumer Product Safety Commission statistics. To help athletes stay active but avoid injuries while participating in fall sports activities, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, and STOP Sports Injuries campaign are recommending that they consider the following safety tips:

• Have a preseason physical examination and follow your doctor’s recommendations.

• Wear protective gear, such as fitted cleats, pads, helmets, and mouth guard.

• Warm up and cool down properly with low-impact exercises, such as jogging, that gradually elevate or lower heart rate.

• To minimize overuse injuries, play multiple positions or play sports during the off-season.

• Pay attention to weather conditions, such as excessively hot and humid temperatures, to avoid heat illness and wet, slippery conditions that can lead to injuries.

• Consistently incorporate strength training and stretching. A good stretch involves not going beyond the point of resistance; it should be held for 10 to 12 seconds.

• Hydrate adequately to maintain health and minimize cramps. Waiting until you are thirsty often is too late to hydrate properly.

• Do not play through pain. Speak with an orthopedic sports medicine specialist or athletic trainer if you have any concerns about injuries or for tips on injury prevention.

• Avoid the pressure that is exerted on many young athletes to overtrain. Listen to your body and decrease training time and intensity if pain or discomfort develops. This reduces the risk of injury and helps avoid burnout. For more information, visit the AAOS Web site at http://www.aaos.org.

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