October 22, 2020

Preventable sports injuries threaten athletes at every level of competition

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This archived article was written by: Edmond James Sanders II

American past-times are now more vivid and optimistic than ever before; it’s the American dream. Every state, city, street corner we pass through youth are indulging in sport: street hockey, basketball, football, double-dutch and sprinting are just a few of the daily activities.
It’s there where passion is established and a dream is born; however, many dreams never see life because it’s that obstacle they knew about, but never prepared for, sports injury.
On Stanford Children’s Hospital website it stated, “3.5 million youth get injured annually,” and as you progress in levels injuries decrease; however, they are still higher than any coach would want.
In soccer, strained hamstrings, torn ACLs and meniscus sprains are the most common. Basketball: ankle sprains, tendonitis and ligament tears are most common. Volleyball: ligament sprains, shoulder injuries and ankle sprains. Baseball: shoulder injuries, elbow injuries and hand/wrist injuries are the most common. These are just a few of the different injuries that occur in these respective sports.
Eighty percent of all sports injuries can be prevented with proper and efficient strength and conditioning training, along with flawless biomechanics’.
You don’t have to love the weight room or want to look like The Rock, because most likely, you won’t; however, you need to become accepting of strength training and injury prevention. This is where a lot of those groin injuries, hamstring strains, ankle sprains and ACL tears can be reduced in likelihood.
Another injury prevention tactic comes with being smart. Overuse is the cause to most tendonitis injuries besides the fact of strength deficiency and continue use of acute injury playing your way into something chronic, which then may lead to another injury because of deficiencies.
Patellar tendonitis is an injury volleyball and basketball athletes encounter and know it can be prevented or reduce tremendously with efficient training. Patellar tendonitis (jumper’s knee) is an overuse injury and becomes worse when you continue to overuse something that’s been overused. However, the strain is initially caused by tight muscles, muscle imbalances and lack of flexibility/mobility. Weak vastus medialis, tibialis anterior, extensor digitorum, quadriceps, gluteus maximus/medius and tight hip flexors all play a key role to the birth of this injury; tight IT bands, quadriceps and hamstrings are also big factors.
In soccer, weak hamstrings and glutes are common due to lack of attention to strength training which causes groin and hamstring strains. Concussions, being another injury often seen, can be decreased with proper heading mechanics and increased neck strength.
In baseball, a lot of arm injuries from ulnar-collateral-ligament tears to shoulder impingement/rotator cuff injuries occur from overuse, mechanics and muscle imbalances.
The list of injuries go on and on and although we can never prevent injuries a 100 percent, we can descend the occurrence with proper strength training to correct the imbalances, biomechanical focus on running, jumping and landing form, as well as strength training technique (the body has geometric proportion and is most efficient in precise joint angles).
Focus on flexibility and myofascial release through foam rolling or even with a baseball. This will destroy the knots that build up in your body caused by tightness. It will also increase the longevity of your career.
To all my athletes who love the game, if you want to continue to play the game you grew to love, play at the apex of your abilities, stay off the sidelines from injury and keep your body healthy. You have to take strength and conditioning as well as injury prevention training serious as it’s the key to your success. I can’t stress that enough, how can you not like something that has so many pros and the only cons being from improper technique? Let’s get better as athletes, and more importantly, let’s stay healthy. It’s a great day to be an Eagle.

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