Being involved on a sport’s team is a great way to incorporate regular physical activity into your life, make friends with shared interests, and spend your free time productively. However, getting injured while playing is not a great way to do it. Here are a few ways to avoid incurring an injury while enjoying your game:
- Warm up! Take a light jog before starting your game and then do some stretches. Many physical therapy experts say that warming out is the most important way to avoid a sport-related injury. Warming up before a game increases the oxygen and blood flow to the muscles, which increases the amount of nutrients your muscles get while you are pushing them hard on the field, which helps prevent injury. Warming up also prepares your heart for the increased workload you’re about to put on it, which is essential for avoiding emergency care for stressing your heart out.
As a bonus, warming up increases the transmission rate between nerves impulses, which improves your agility and coordination, improving your performance in your game.
- Wear the appropriate protective gear for your sport. Many sports use mouth guards, knee pads, guards for your shins, elbows, or wrists, and eye protection to protect the parts of your body that are the most prone to injury in your particular game. Most importantly, never go without a helmet if your sport calls for one. Wearing a helmet protects your skull, that protects your brain, that keeps your whole body working.
- Follow the rules of the game. Just as traffic laws are designed to protect the drivers on the road from getting hurt, many of the rules in your game are designed to protect the players. If you play baseball, there are rules about how you put the bat down before running to first base, so that no one is hit with it. If you play basketball, there are rules about coming in contact with other players in ways that could hurt you and them. If your sport is swimming, there are safety checks before you dive in, so no one is in the way. If you play rugby, please refer to our previous point and make sure not to skimp on that mouth guard!
- Bench yourself if you already have an injury. If you’re passionate about your sport, it’s probably heartbreaking to miss out on the action just because of a strain or sprained muscle. But playing on a minor injury could turn it into a major injury and forces you to retire from the game for good.
Keep your coach in the loop on your condition, don’t underplay it to get back on the field sooner. If you have any concern, you should get medical help for your injury, and then follow your doctor’s recommendation for how long to sit out from your game. Missing a few games is far better than never being able to play again.
Do you have any great tips for staying safe on the field and avoiding sports injuries that we didn’t cover? Please share them in the comment section below.