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How To Prevent Sports Related Injuries

A record 7.8 million kids participated in high school sports from 2013 to 2014, according to the latest available data from the National Federation Of State High School Associations. But whether you're a young high school football player, adult pro athlete or novice sports participant, you can get injured playing your favorite sport. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to prevent or minimize the risk of getting injured.

Take Time to Warm Up Properly

Always spend five or ten minutes warming up before your sports activity. Focus on whole body movements, such as jumping rope, lunges, jumping jacks. generally, it is NOT advised to stretch prior to activity, as stretching tight, cold muscles can lead to injury. Save the stretching for the end of your workout, when your muscles are warm and more pliable.

Get Plenty of Rest

Get plenty of sleep during the week. Seven to nine hours is recommended. Eastern Idaho Spine Center suggests that you take at least one or two days off from sports each week to allow your body to recover. If you can't do that, try a more gentle cross-training activity such as yoga. Give the muscles and joints time to recuperate and adjust to your rigorous routine.

Stop When You Feel Pain

If you strain a muscle or experience pain, stop all activity. Give your body time to heal. Elevate the injury and get ice on it the first 48 to 72 hours, according to experts in sports medicine in Idaho Falls.

Where Appropriate Gear

Don a helmet if you're participating in contact sports such as football, hockey, bicycling, softball or skateboarding. And use mouth guards, pads and eye protection when necessary. Also, make sure you wear the appropriate foot gear. Concussions are increasingly common among youth in impact sports; see a doctor if there is any concern of head injury or concussion. We see patients every week and can help make recommendations for return to sport.

Use Proper Technique

Learn the fundamental rules and movements of your game before you actually participate in an official one, whether its a batting stance, blocking technique or sudden shift to one side. You're less likely to get injured if you familiarize yourself with the proper techniques of your favorite activity.

Strengthen Your Muscles

Most doctors of Sports Medicine advocate strength training to prevent muscle and joint injuries. Weight lifting or resistance training helps strengthen the muscles or tendons on or around the ones you use the most in sports, which can prevent injuries. This becomes especially important as we age, as multiple studies have shown a gradual but persistent loss of lean muscle mass over the age of 35. Strength training can reduce that rate of loss by as much as 50%!!! Ask your trainer or doctor to recommend a training program for your sport. Keep moving! Dr. V.

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Sarah Vlach