What Every Weekend Warrior Should Know About Preventing Sports Injuries

What Every Weekend Warrior Should Know About Preventing Sports Injuries

Recreational sports can provide some of the benefits of playing sports professionally, but not without risk. Particularly if someone participates in contact sports, taking care of yourself can take you further than any yardline, goal, or high score. Taking the proper precautions to protect your body while playing sports can save you time, money, and pain. 

Our caring professional staff at Victory Sports Medicine & Orthopedics is led by Marc Pietropaoli, MD, a leading orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine doctor in Skaneateles, New York. Dr. Pietropaoli has years of experience treating sports injuries and advocates for patients to learn how to protect themselves from injury. 

What can happen while I’m playing sports? 

Sports are not only good for your health, but they’re also an excellent source of exercise, and helps your body release endorphins and dopamine, hormones that make you feel happy. You can make friends, learn the importance of teamwork, and have a great new hobby. 

In any setting, though, sports carry the risk of all kinds of injuries, and many of them are preventable, including, but not limited to:

Even if you’re a weekend warrior on the recreational circuit, you’re vulnerable to the possible injuries listed, as well as more serious injuries to your brain and head, broken bones, and knocked out teeth. Not only do you risk hurting yourself when you sustain a sports injury, your team may also suffer from your absence, another incentive to protect yourself from injury.  

What weekend warriors should know about sports injuries

The good news about sports injuries is that many of them are preventable. The injuries you may sustain when, say, you collide with another person during a game of football may be less preventable, there are still steps that you can take to protect yourself from the worst of it. People at greatest risk of sports injuries aren’t usually active, haven’t warmed up properly, or play contact sports.

Stretching

This may seem obvious, but stretching your body properly and warming up your muscles can help them help you. It’s important to make sure that your warm-up is adequate for your level of activity. For example, if you’re going on a 5k run, make sure that you include leg stretches, and some light jogging or jumping jacks. 

Warm up

‘Warming up’ sounds innocuous enough, but it is actually an umbrella term that includes the above-mentioned stretching. When your body is warming up, your heart, lungs, and muscles are preparing for more strenuous activity. Your body responds to warming up in several ways: 

Focusing on your body while warming up and stretching helps your body prepare to run, lift, and shout your way through your recreational sport. 

Proper gear is essential

Protecting your body doesn’t stop at stretching and warm-ups. In some cases, having the proper gear is what can prevent the sports you love from crippling you, or leaving you with a lasting injury. Particularly for contact sports, like football, lacrosse, and hockey, mouth guards, helmets, and padding can help to keep you safe and intact. 

Rest and recovery play a role

A sometimes overlooked part of preventing sports injuries is giving your body time to recover. While it’s understandable that you may want to train to better yourself and give yourself a more competitive edge, this can backfire. Engaging in a strenuous activity while recovering from the last activity puts you at greater risk of injuring yourself and could take you out of the game. 

Sports injuries affect around 3.5 million children and teens every year, and an additional 5 million adults. Protecting yourself from injuries doesn’t offer any guarantees, but can lessen the damage to your body, your longevity, and your ability to continue playing your sport or sports of choice. If you think you’ve been injured while playing the sport you love, contact us at 315-303-8352, or book an appointment with us online.

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