Easy Precautions to take to Prevent Suffering Needless Sporting Injuries

Professional sports teams spend a lot of money on the best possible medical staff in order to rehabilitate their injured players as quickly as possible.
Professional sports teams spend a lot of money on the best possible medical staff in order to rehabilitate their injured players as quickly as possible. Photo by Apasciuto // CC BY 2.0.

Sporting injuries can have a huge consequence on not just a person’s sporting and physical ventures, but also their professional life as well. The most worrying thing about injuries acquired through playing sports is that they can happen at any given time to any person – such is the nature of ‘freak injuries.’ Something can seem innocuous and yet leave a person incapacitated for months.

Some of the world’s best paid sports stars earned nearly $100m last year through a combination of salaries/winnings and endorsements. Without their physical abilities, the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and LeBron James would see their value and subsequent wealth plummet. To ensure they and other athletes remain fit and injury-free, many precautionary measures are taken to avoid injury at all costs.

The lengths they go to to prevent injury are sometimes extreme, but it is definitely worth taking note in some cases and applying them to your fitness schedule, in order to give yourself as much chance as possible to stay injury-free.

Stretching

Stretching is taken very seriously within professional sports teams, and is a pivotal part of pre-match warm-ups and cool downs.
Stretching is taken very seriously within professional sports teams, and is a pivotal part of pre-match warm-ups and cool downs. Photo by Goatling // CC BY-SA 3.0.

This list is not full of elaborate and unheard of techniques to prevent injury. Stretching is something that everyone has heard of, but crucially, that few people do. Stretching is so simple, yet it is often overlooked and dismissed as something reserved for yoga and Pilates fanatics.

Why not make a habit out of stretching before any form of physical activity? Not only will this ensure you are as loose as possible for the imminent activity, but also that your muscles and limbs are fully ready for warm up.
Stretching after exercise is not as crucial for injury prevention. It is unlikely you will suffer an injury after exercise if one was not suffered during it. However, stretching after exercise is definitely going to be beneficial for you as well. This will allow for quicker recovery and if, for instance, you intend to play a football match the following day, it will help to ensure your muscles are not stiff and aching.

Decisiveness

This precaution is specifically for contact sports. Obviously this is where injuries can often occur, but many let caution make them indecisive when going in for challenges. If you go into a 50-50 challenge halfheartedly and unsure of yourself, there is far more chance of you getting injured than if you commit 100% to it.

Now that is not to say you should fly recklessly into challenges. But when you do go in for a tackle, the worst thing you can do is second-guess yourself just before making contact as you are going to come off worse more times than not.

Discretion

Having said that decisiveness is key to preventing injury, a certain amount of discretion is needed as well. That means judging situations and acting accordingly based on your evaluation. So, in the context of tackling, if your team is winning comfortably, it is the last minute of the match and you have the choice to either challenge for a risky 50-50 tackle or concede possession and defend, it may be worth remaining cautious and avoiding conflict.

In the context of going on a run, plan the route before you go. If it has rained, avoid slippery paths or potentially waterlogged areas. If it is icy outside, do not run. These are obvious points but a couple of minutes of consideration could really help.

Footwear

Sufficient and appropriate footwear is vital for doing exercise or sport. It is literally the basis from which you propel yourself forward, and does make a huge difference to performance if you get it right.

However, getting this wrong can lead to suffering significant injury. Take football for example. Stability is the key for football boots; if they provide sufficient stability, players can push off while accelerating and have a solid standing foot while striking the ball. Without this stability, you will feel no support from down below and will have little control when diving in for tackles and sprinting etc. This makes injury a high probability.

Equipment

Following on from footwear, equipment is important as well. Of course in competitive sport, safety equipment likes guards and pads are often mandatory. However, in friendly sport or training, these laws are not implemented or enforced. But just because you do not have to do something, it does not mean you should not do it.

Wearing a guard when you do not have to is not going to make a drastic difference to how you train or workout. It is of very little inconvenience to you. And yet, that one time that you get hit or potentially could suffer a serious injury, it will be there to soften the blow and even prevent any physical damage all together.

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