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What You Need to Know About Preventing Sports Injuries

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Injuries from sports or recreational activities can sideline you for not just the next game, but at home and in your career. Many of the most common injuries occur because of poor training methods and a lack of proper conditioning, like stretching before you exercise. In some cases, physical rehabilitation is required to help rebuilt strength and movements in parts of the body.
“Physical rehabilitation ensures patients get back to optimum health; back to their families; back to their pastimes; back to the things they love to do, whether that’s playing football professionally—or playing with their grandkids in the back yard,” says Joe Van Allen, vice president for rehabilitation services at Steward Health Care.
Here’s what Allen says are some tried and true ways to prevent injuries during your next physical activity:

3 Tips for Reaching Your Potential

1. Plan for an adequate warm-up. Performing light activity that includes a dynamic warm-up can help prepare your nervous system and your soft tissue for the training session ahead. Studies have shown that static stretching prior to a workout should be avoided.
2. Focus on sound pre- and post-exercise nutrition. Ensure that your body is properly fueled with adequate protein, carbohydrates, and fluids to maximize your energy levels during a training session. Replenish your body with additional protein and fluids for optimal recovery.
3. Recovery is essential to performance. Remember that above all recovery techniques, ensuring a proper amount of sleep has been shown to be the most powerful recovery tool available. Prioritizing your sleep schedule is key step to performance success.

Did You Know?

• High school athletes account for an estimated 2 million injuries, 500,000 doctor visits, and 30,000 hospitalizations annually.
• Injuries associated with sports and recreational activities account for 21 percent of all traumatic brain injuries among children in the United States.
• According to the CDC, more than half of all sports injuries in children are preventable.
Joe Van Allen led athletic training for the New England Patriots for 18 years before entering his new role at Steward Health Care. He is a certified physical therapy specialist and was awarded Athletic Trainer of the Year in 2017 by the Athletic Trainers of Massachusetts.