Injuries can make or break an athletes future in the game. They can ruin a talented players goals of signing a professional contract or representing there country in a World Cup. They are a dream breaker. They are a motivational killer and they can leave you broken and on your knees permanently if you’re not careful. However, the unfortunate truth for athletes who have succumb to horrific on the field incidents is injuries are preventable.
I was very fortunate I did not sustain many injuries when I first started my footballing career 20+ years ago. Every stitch and scar I received as a kid was a result of doing something ignorant off the pitch. Up until the 12th grade I had not been injured once from football related activities. However, after my arm snapped like a twig in a match during the spring season of my senior year of high school, my body seemed to fall apart.
During my freshman year at the University of Memphis I had 2 concussions, 2 split foreheads and a bruised intestine. I transferred to Monmouth University 2 semesters later where I effectively ended my sophomore season 3 games in after tearing my miniscuous. I then transferred to my third school a year later where the injuries didn’t stop. In the two years I attended Lindsey Wilson College I severely sprained my ankle, fractured my nose, fractured my patella and tore my hamstring
Despite all of the injuries I have sustained over the course of my career, I know 90% of them were preventible. We may not be able to predict when we will get elbowed in the face or collide head to head with our opposition, but we can significantly reduce the amount of muscular injuries we sustain if we take the necessary preventible measures to protect our body.
You never know when your luck might run out on the field and you sustain a career ending injury. Take the first step in securing your future in football by reading through some of the best ways to prevent football related injuries.
- Have a pre-season physical examination and follow your doctor’s recommendations
- Use well-fitting cleats and shin guards — there is some evidence that molded and multi-studded cleats are safer than screw-in cleats
- Be aware of poor field conditions that can increase injury rates
- Hydrate adequately — waiting until you are thirsty is often too late to hydrate properly
- Pay attention to environmental recommendations, especially in relation to excessively hot and humid weather, to help avoid heat illness
- Maintain proper fitness — injury rates are higher in athletes who have not adequately prepared physically.
- After a period of inactivity, progress gradually back to full-contact soccer through activities such as aerobic conditioning, strength training, and agility training.
- Avoid overuse injuries — more is not always better!
- Many sports medicine specialists believe that it is beneficial to take at least one season off each year. Try to avoid the pressure that is now exerted on many young athletes to over-train. Listen to your body and decrease training time and intensity if pain or discomfort develops.
- Speak with a sports medicine professional or athletic trainer if you have any concerns about injuries or prevention strategies