Summer is coming to an end and that means it’s almost football season! Football is America’s favorite pastime, but for the athletes themselves, the sport can be brutal on the body. Whether you’re a professional football player or enjoy throwing the ball around with friends, properly taking care of injuries is important. However, the best way to deal with football injuries is to prevent them from happening in the first place.
Most Common Injuries
Football is a heavy contact sport, and injuries are more of the norm than not. Around half of the injuries that occur happen in the lower extremities. A knee injury is one of the biggest complaints that players report. Cartilage tears and ruptures of the ACL are extremely common, as are tears of the PCL and MCL. Other injuries include sprains of the ankle and hamstring, shin splints, Achilles tendonitis, and turf toe.
In the upper extremities, shoulder injuries may include separation, fracture of the clavicle, dislocation, and a torn rotator cuff. Broken fingers, and tendonitis and sprains of the wrist are also common.
Head injuries, especially concussions, are quite common, as are fractures, contusions, and dislocations.
Because of the long-term damage sustained from football injuries, particularly with concussions, there has been increased attention on preventing injuries from professional football leagues.
Causes of Football Injuries
Every move in football can cause injury. Injuries can be acute from a sudden blow, or cumulative from overuse. The different moves that are involved with playing football include running, passing, catching, and tackling. All of these pose a threat to the players’ body parts and can easily lead to injury.
In football, there are many sudden changes in direction and bursts of speed, which leads to many of the sprains and pulled muscles. When it comes to preventing football injuries, a lack of training, weak muscles, and structural abnormalities all lead to injuries as well, and are highly preventable.
How to Prevent Football Injuries
Preventing football injuries is imperative to keep injuries at a minimum.
- Before each season, the athlete should get a physical, to ensure that there aren’t any conditions that could limit participation.
- Warm ups should occur before, and after, every practice and game. This ensures that the muscles stay loose and ready to handle the physical demands of the game.
- Check the field before play to make sure that there are no potential hazards, such as debris or holes.
- Proper equipment is a must. Pads, helmets, and mouth guards need to fit properly and be worn correctly. Along with the basic equipment, certain players should also wear additional supports and braces for the different extremities. These help players with instability issues, injury recovery, pain, and prevention.
- Practice healthy living. This includes eating a nutritious diet, drinking enough water, and getting enough sleep.
- Many future injuries also result from returning too soon after a previous injury. Make sure that you are completely recovered before you go back on to the field.