From adult softball to youth basketball, weekend golf lessons, marathons, recreation league soccer and more — sports are year-round events, which means sports injuries are, too.
During 2010-2016, there were 2.7 million annual visits to the emergency department (ED) for sports injuries by patients ages 5-24 years old, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The top five most frequent activities that caused ED visits were:
- Football (14.1%)
- Basketball (12.5%)
- Pedal cycling (9.9%)
- Soccer (7.1%)
- Ice or roller skating or skateboarding (6.9%)
Whether you’re a weekend warrior playing a quick pick-up game or a student-athlete looking to move to the next level, dealing with a sports injury can physically set you back on and off the court or playing field. No matter your skill level, every athlete needs to know the best way to deal with a sports injury: prevent them from happening in the first place.
Below are some tips to help you limit your risk for sports-related injuries so you can stay game-ready:
Athletes can experience injuries from:
- Not using proper training techniques. Using proper form when playing and during training can prevent injuries.
- Not wearing the proper sporting gear. Always wear appropriate equipment for your sport, including helmets, guards, padding, etc.
- Not maintaining overall fitness. Make sure you’re keeping up with your fitness outside of the sports season.
- Stretching or warming up incorrectly. Don’t slack on the stretches; they help prepare your body for strenuous activities!
These issues can lead to common injuries such as:
So how do you decrease the risk?
- Regularly perform exercises that increase your heart rate — including strength training, aerobic exercises and flexibility stretches.
- Have a well-rounded workout plan and exercise as regularly as you can, making sure to work out a variety of muscle groups.
- Warm up before and after activity and exercise.
- Cool down properly to get your heart rate back to normal after strenuous activity or exercise.
- Always use the correct equipment, including joint braces, protective gear and appropriate footwear.
- Use the proper techniques that are designated for your sport or activity.
- Rest when tired! Sleep better at night —your body needs sleep to repair and recover.
These preventive measures are good places to start to help reduce the risk of a sports injury, even minor ones.
To learn more about injury prevention or schedule an appointment with an orthopedic specialist, visit TannerOrtho.org.