Safely Spring into Sports this Season


It's spring, and the fields, courts and courses are teeming with sports enthusiasts. But after months of indoor activity, how do you ensure that the exuberance brought on by the sun and warmer temperatures doesn't result in injury?

Baseball, golf and lacrosse are popular spring sports. And while outdoor exercise is advantageous, these sports do cause injuries each year. According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission:

-Baseball caused more than 394,000 injuries in the US in 2011;

-Golf, nearly 96,000 injuries; and,

-Lacrosse more than 53,000.

"With any sport, it's important to start slowly, and to make sure you have the proper equipment, both for safety and comfort," said Marc T. Galloway, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon and Head Team Physician for the Cincinnati Bengals. "It's also important to stay hydrated by drinking water every 20 minutes, especially when the temperature rises above 80 degrees. Finally, listen to your body.  Know when to take a rest, especially if you have been relatively inactive over the winter months. Take frequent breaks while exercising, and even a day off or two from rigorous activity, to avoid injury."

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) offers the following sport safety tips for baseball, golf and lacrosse:

The most common baseball injuries include mild soft tissue injuries. These include muscle pulls or strains, ligament injuries (sprains), cuts, contusions, and bruises. Although baseball is a non-contact sport, most serious injuries are due to contact – either with a ball, bat or another player. Click here to visit our educational site to read detailed tips on how to reduce baseball related injuries.

Most golf injuries are due to overuse from repeating the same swinging motion over and over again. Leading the list of injuries is golfer's elbow, technically known as medial epicondylitis. Golfer's elbow is an inflammation of the tendons that attach your forearm muscles to the inside of the bone at your elbow. Also common are lower back injuries caused by poor swing techniques. Visit for tips to help strengthen the back and forearm muscles.

Knee injuries, including anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears, are the leading cause of lost game and practice time for both girls and boys. Non-contact, ankle and knee ligament sprains, sustained while cutting and dodging are also common in lacrosse. To avoid these injuries, players should be proactive in conditioning. Click here to view the types of programs one should engage in to help reduce lacrosse related injuries.

For a detailed drawing of the knee anatomy, visit