Article Submitted By: Gregg Williams – Sports Performance Specialist (SPS)
What comes to mind with mid-season football? Who will stay healthy to contribute to the end of the season playoffs? Some injuries are minor and some are of course major. Regardless the type of injury, no one especially the player wants to see or experience an injury. Injuries can do something to the athlete psychologically as well as physiologically. Any athlete will tell you that they perform the best when they feel 100%. There are those who have what is considered a high pain tolerance and will play with the pain but it will still affect the mind.
How do you avoid injuries? Can you avoid injuries? An athlete who is well conditioned can lower the risk. Yes, an athlete or team who efficiently and effectively trains during the season can have a lower risk factor. According to National Strength and Conditioning and National Academy of Sports Medicine follow these steps to help avoid mid season injury?
1. Get plenty of rest. This is one of those under statements. The body is in recovery mode when resting and sleeping. The immune system gets some of its boost from sleep. Muscle and other soft tissue can repair during sleep.
2. Eat balanced meals. Athletes are burning off calories and energy. Therefore it is important and feed the body proper nutrients. It wouldn’t hurt to include a multivitamin. Also drink plenty of water and fluids. I say fluids for those who have difficulty with getting water in. However, nothing will substitute for water. Muscle needs water for hydration.
3. Stretching. This is another understatement. This is one that most young athletes do not do enough of. In my 25 plus years, this is the one component that is overlooked. Muscles get tight and create imbalances which raise the risk of strains and sprains. If you have to, get involved in a stretching class or even yoga class.
4. Resistance training. Remember that the muscles, tendons and ligaments have been under great demand. Training heavy will lead you down injury lane every time. Protocol is 65% – 75% of your max. In many cases I have worked with teams at 50% – 60%. They had only one injury that benched one player the rest of the season. Train each major muscle group one time per week. That is 3 – 4 days per 7 days. 3 – 5 sets Remember, the goal is to maintain during the season.
Parents and Coaches, if you follow these steps, you will have success, stay healthy and continue to perform at your highest level injury-free.
Greg is a Sports Performance Specialist(SPS) Education and background include Exercise Physiology, Exercise Science, Sports Medicine, Human Kinetics and Massage Therapy.