High school sports provide great opportunities for students, but injuries are going to happen. Matt DeWall with 21st Century Rehab at the Knoxville Hospital and Clinics says there are many ways injuries can be prevented, and when they do happen, minimized. Here are some major points I took away from the interview:
Listen to your body. Injuries occur often when one is fatigued, not hydrated, or not sufficiently alert. Try to maintain good strength, flexibility, and hydration.
If your body is in shape, injuries can be minimized. Athletes move at a high rate of speed, and not everything is under your control, so accidents will happen.
Good hydration the night before, and during the day before practice or a game is as important as hydration during the game.
Flexibility is very important. Have a good range of motion, and be strong.
Stretching before and AFTER practice is very important. Athletes should do cool down stretching for approximately 20 minutes after practice or a game.
The things one does in the off season are critically important. Don’t jump right into a sport. Doing so risks injury.
Athletes need to know the difference between hurting, and an injury. If injured, see a doctor. If hurt, talk to coaches and trainers to help stop a hurt from becoming an injury.
Communication is important. Most kids don’t want to tell anyone that they might have an injury because they don’t want to lose playing time. They likely will lose even more playing time, however, if they don’t seek help and appropriate treatment.
Ice, ice, ice. Ice is the best way of reducing inflammation. Use it whenever there is pain.