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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Injury Prevention

The concept of “Maximum potential” on which this site is founded includes physical health.

Any high level sportsperson can tell you about the frustration caused by an injury. Whether it be a minor muscle strain or a career threatening ligament rupture, the loss of time and ability as a result of an injury is a major blow. Much time and research has been spent on how to recover from an injury, but increasingly more and more effort has been spent on injury prevention. Most of the work in prevention takes place in the months and weeks preceding the event. Cardiovascular fitness, flexibility, strength, balance, and sport-specific skills training are all essential components of any training program. A balanced program will cater for the individual sportsperson, and include all the components listed above.

Much can be done on the day. Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of fluid before, during and after a game. Dehydration results in decreased performance as well as placing muscles in a less than optimal functioning state. Keep warm, especially during half time. While the half-time break is often a well-appreciated rest, it can result in muscles ‘cooling down’ putting you at risk in the second half. Donning a tracksuit can help this. Learn to conserve physical and mental energy where not playing, especially if you have a number of matches on a single day. Rules are often designed for protection (e.g. lowering a player in a line-out in rugby, lifting the ball in hockey), stick to them. Talk to your team on the field; the stupid injuries are those caused by two players crashing as they chase after the same ball.

If, despite everything, you still find yourself injured seek appropriate first aid and further treatment. Many recurring injuries take place because of failure to treat the primary injury. A common example is lack of balance retraining following an ankle sprain.

Above all, do not let the fear in injury hamper you from doing well. Focus on playing well and injury free. Listen to inspirational music before your matches to raise your emotion and consequently your game. Have a blast and enjoy doing that which you are great at.

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