Tackle Fall Sports Safely
The end of summer means the start of practice for soccer, football, volleyball, and other fall sports, and unfortunately, related injuries too.
Statistics from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) show the following results for individuals treated in emergency rooms and doctors’ offices in the US during 2012:
- *Approximately 1,242,491 for football-related injuries
- *Nearly 626,600 treated for soccer injuries
- *More than 178,000 for volleyball related injuries
“Not all injuries can be prevented, however many can be avoided,” said orthopaedic surgeon and American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) spokesperson Brett D. Owens, MD. “All athletes, from grade school and high school students to weekend enthusiasts, should take proper safety precautions before embarking on a high-impact, seasonal sports program. These include warming up before practice, staying in shape during the off season, and staying hydrated, especially in the heat of August and early September.”
As orthopaedic surgeons would rather prevent than fix broken bones and other musculoskeletal injuries, AAOS, the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) and the STOP Sports Injuries campaign offer the following fall sport safety tips:
- *Have a preseason physical examination and follow your doctor’s recommendations.
- *When playing, wear protective gear such as properly fitted cleats, pads, helmets, mouth guard, or other necessary equipment.
- *Warm-up and cool down properly with low-impact exercises like jogging that gradually increase or lower heart rate.
- *Play multiple positions and/or sports during the off-season to minimize overuse injuries.
- *Pay attention to weather conditions such as excessively hot and humid temperatures, to help avoid heat illness or wet, slippery conditions that can lead to injuries.
- *Consistently incorporate strength training and stretching. A good stretch involves not going beyond the point of resistance and should be held for 10-12 seconds.
- *Hydrate adequately to maintain health and minimize muscle cramps. Waiting until you are thirsty is often too late to hydrate properly.
- *Don’t play through the pain. Speak with an orthopaedic sports medicine specialist or athletic trainer if you have any concerns about injuries or tips on injury prevention.
- *Avoid the pressure that is now exerted on many young athletes to overtrain. Listen to your body and decrease training time and intensity if pain or discomfort develops. This will reduce the risk of injury and help avoid burnout.
A Nation in Motion
More than one in four Americans have bone or joint health problems, making them the greatest cause of lost work days in the US. When orthopaedic surgeons restore mobility and reduce pain, they help people get back to work and to independent, productive lives. Orthopaedic surgeons provide a great value, in both human and economic terms; and access to high-quality orthopaedic care keeps this “Nation in Motion.” To learn more, to read hundreds of patient stories or to submit your own story, visit ANationinMotion.org.