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Stay safe and enjoy the game – a guide to preventing sports injuries in athletes of all ages 

Sports differ a lot in terms of physical abilities, training requirements, popularity, and obviously the health risks they involve. If we were to compare rugby to tennis or golf, it’s obvious which discipline is more likely to lead to serious injuries.

 

There are many factors that come into play here, including strength, balance, endurance, and biomechanics, so there’s a lot to take into consideration when assessing the level of risk that each sport involves. 

 

But one topic that’s not discussed as much as it should be is sports injury prevention. Sport-related injuries may not be as prevalent nor as severe as injuries sustained in a car accident, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t practice caution before and when stepping on the playing field. A lot of athletes are so eager to jump into action and get so caught up in the game that they completely forget about safety. So, this article is going to address this specific issue and give a few recommendations to reduce the likelihood of sports injuries and help you stay safe on the playing field. 

Keep your body temperature at the right level 

One aspect that often gets ignored by most players is body temperature. Although it may not seem like such an important factor, it does weigh heavily in the balance when it comes to helping your body perform at its best and keeping injuries at bay. If you step out on the playing field dressed lightly when the temperatures are low, you risk experiencing muscle contractions which will significantly reduce your flexibility and limit your range of motions, and in turn, increase the risk of getting injured while playing. 

 

You obviously can’t control the weather outside or the temperature on a sports avenue, but what you can do is dress appropriately for the season. Add an extra layer during colder months, and make sure you choose fabrics that are breathable to ensure comfort. 

Stay hydrated 

Drinking enough water every day is important for your health, for a number of reasons: it helps improve brain function, it ensures proper digestion, it gives you a boost of energy, it helps deliver nutrients to cells, it helps regulate body temperature and the list of benefits could go on for much longer, but we’re going to stop here because we want to stress out the importance of staying hydrated while playing sports. 

 

Athletes who train on a regular basis need to drink more water than the average individual because they subject their bodies to intense psychical activity, so they sweat a lot and lose water, even during colder winter months. That increases the risk of dehydration, which represents a major health concern, and can lead to numerous unpleasant consequences, such as cramps, muscle tightening, and other issues. So, next time you get ready for a training session or a game, make sure you drink enough water to maintain an optimum level of hydration.  

Never skip your warm-up or cool-down

One of the golden rules in sports is taking the time to do a complete warm-up before you go into intense physical activities. There’s a good reason why warm-ups play such a vital role in the success of any workout and should always be a part of your training and pre-game routine. Warm-up sessions help increase your heart rate and blood flow, so there’s more oxygen reaching your muscles.

 

This increases elasticity and reduces the risk of soreness, rips, or tears in your muscles.  But warm-ups are also important from a psychological point of view, as they also help you prepare mentally for the game ahead. A good warm-up session will get you into the right mindset and improve your concertation so you can get ready for facing your opponents.   

Wear adequate gear

Pre-game warmup and physical fitness are without a doubt two of the most important factors in enhancing performance and helping you stay safe. But let’s not ignore another key element in the equation: the sporting gear. Depending on what type of sport you play, you should make sure you’re wearing adequate equipment at all times. 

 

For example, rugby players should wear specific head equipment and body pads to reduce the risk of concussion and other types of injuries, given it’s a full-contact sport where accidents tend to happen quite often. Similarly, hockey players wear a helmet, skates, neck protectors, and athletic cups for goalies to minimize the risk of accidents as much as possible. Sports injuries are not something to be taken lightly, and although sporting gear cannot guarantee you won’t get hurt while you’re on the field, it does improve your chances of being safe and sound at the end of the game. 

Inspect the playing field 

Speaking of playing fields, you might want to get in the habit of inspecting the surface on which you’re going to play, just to make sure there’s nothing that could ruin a good game. For instance, you might want to look out for muddy or slippery surfaces on the football field after heavy rain, so you can avoid them during the game. 

 

Uneven terrain is the culprit for many sports injuries, so don’t underestimate the importance of a thorough inspection prior to the game. 

Listen to your body’s signals

As an athlete, you definitely want to make the most out of each training session and win every game you play. But while this drive and determination can help you improve your performances, they can also work against you if you take things a bit too far. 

 

It’s important to know your limits and listen to your body’s signals. If you’re still trying to recover after an injury or if you feel like something’s not right, don’t push yourself over your limit. It’s not worth risking your health or your career for the sake of winning one game or one competition.  


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