There are approximately 3.5 million sports-related injuries every year among children and teens. And a lot of pro-athletes also suffered from debilitating injuries that ultimately ended their careers. Yet despite these alarming statistics, sports remain one of the most promising pastimes and careers in the world.
That’s because playing sports is a great way to develop teamwork skills and work on social skills. It’s also the more enjoyable alternative to simple exercise because players play in teams. However, playing sports can pose plenty of risks to anyone who plays them, even more so if they’re not taking safety precautions, such as:
Trust in the Power of Warm-ups and Cool-downs
Imagine that you put glass into the freezer. Once it’s frozen, you immediately subjected it to hot water, causing it to break from the sudden temperature change. Now imagine that this frozen glass is your muscles, and you play directly without warming up first. The sudden temperature change can lead you to get hurt.
If you want to prevent yourself from getting injured or pulling a muscle during a game, you’ll need to warm up and stretch properly beforehand. A good warm-up session includes a few cardio exercises to bring your heart rate up, increase blood circulation, and get the blood pumping throughout your body.
You also need to warm up your muscles by stretching to prepare them for any movements you’ll make while playing. And finally, it should include strength drills, such as jumps and sprints, to prepare your body for the sudden bursts of intensity that you’ll have during the games.
Never play without warming up your body first because that is only a disaster waiting to happen. Typically, a warm-up session can last anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes, and it’s often used to get the player’s head in the game. Likewise, the cool-down should last as long to give the body time to adjust to the lack of activity. The warm-up and cool-down should also be done gradually because you can pull a muscle even while stretching.
Don’t Forget to Wear Protective Gear
Contact sports such as football, soccer, boxing, or wrestling can all lead to severe injuries. This is because the players often come into physical contact with one another during the games, hence the name. Aside from that, these sports are also high-impact, which puts a lot of stress on the hips, knees, and ankles.
That’s why people who play contact sports need to wear protective gear. The gear can lessen the impact on their bodies, especially when there’s brute force and tackling to the ground involved. For instance, if you play football, you’ll have to wear shoulder, thigh, and knee pads, a helmet, as well as gloves.
But while the helmet can protect your skull, it won’t do much for protecting your teeth and lips when your head suffers the blow. And that’s why you’ll need to wear a high-end football mouth guard to protect your teeth from the high impact. So before you head into battle, you should always be ready with your gear.
Tend to Pain, Injuries, and Soreness Immediately
It’s not normal for your body to hurt when there’s nothing wrong. So, if any part of your body is sore or in pain, it might be because you didn’t warm it up properly before playing. It’s also possible that you used too much force or put it under pressure, which led to the soreness and pain that you’re feeling.
Most of the time, this kind of pain will go away on its own. You might need to ice the sore area or use an ointment to ease the pain, but other than that, you won’t have to worry. However, if the pain doesn’t go away even after a few days, it might be a sign of a more serious underlying issue that you overlooked.
This is especially concerning if you see the area developing a bruise because while the outside may not look too bad, it’s possible that your muscles or nerves sustained most of the impact. That’s why you need to seek medical assistance immediately if you get hurt or injured while playing sports.
Don’t wait until the situation becomes much worse before going to a doctor. This is because doing so might cost you your full mobility, and therefore, your ability to play sports. If you can address and treat an injury from the get-go, then you’ll have a much higher chance of fully recovering from it.
To an athlete, knowing that you can no longer play can be like the end of your world as you knew it. And that’s why you have to take care of yourself because you only have one body. So, don’t be afraid to take all the safety precautions you can if it means getting to play the sport you love for much longer.
Meta title: How to Take Care of Yourself If You’re an Athlete
meta desc: If you love playing sports, you must take care of yourself properly because your ability to play depends on your health. Here are three safety precautions you can use.