Whether serious or minor, injuries are almost a certainty in contact sports such as American football, basketball, boxing, and martial arts. However, this does not mean that those who engage in them professionally or recreationally should live with this fact and refrain from exercising due caution altogether. Nothing can be farther from the truth.
In fact, professional athletes and hobbyists alike should ensure that the possibility of them getting injured while playing contact sports is significantly reduced, if not avoided. Fortunately, plenty of available resources offer great tips on injury prevention in contact sports, which discuss ways to prevent ACL injuries in soccer. Another is this article, which talks about preventing concussion in high-risk activities such as engagement in contact sports.
Now, if you’re someone who’s into such a kind of physical activity, you should personally make it your advocacy to keep yourself and everyone else free from potentially debilitating injuries in the sports you all love. With that, here are six ways to protect yourself from injuries during contact sports:
1. Do warm-ups and stretches first.
Ever wondered why, as a young child, you always see athletes doing a series of stretches and warm-up routines before the game begins? These pregame ceremonies allow athletes’ muscles to get in a relaxed state and become flexible, so the muscles won’t be ‘surprised’ once the athletes begin moving around at lightning speed. You should, therefore, do your own warm-ups and stretches before starting your contact sports session for the day.
2. Wear appropriate personal protective equipment.
Far too many injuries are classified as preventable, but they happen anyway because athletes fail to wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). The fast and simple rule governing PPE is that it has to suit the requirements of the game being played: a mouthguard for boxing and basketball, helmets, face protection, and similar headgear for American football, baseball, and ice hockey. Keep in mind that among athletes and sports enthusiasts’ top priorities to play and end the game without as much as a single scratch. These personal protective gears would go a long way in keeping you safe from injuries, so you could continue enjoying the sports for as long you want.
3. Do proper physical and mental conditioning.
Contact sports typically involve making quick, forceful moves to physically subdue the opponent (such as in judo) or score a point (like basketball). These things happen so fast that the athletes must be on top of their mental and physical state to perform well and avoid getting injured just because their conditioning is poor.
Have you ever wondered why world-class contact sports athletes such as Manny Pacquiao or the 2020 NBA Champions Los Angeles Lakers hire physical conditioning coaches who command seven-figure paychecks? It’s simply because they acknowledge the critical part that great physical and mental conditioning plays in helping them perform to their full potential while allowing them to avoid getting injured.
4. Stay hydrated.
Water and sports hydration products should be mainstays of your game bag each time you head out to your gym or venue. Staying properly hydrated not only prevents dehydration but also lets you stay focused throughout the game. The human body is made up mostly of water, and the lack of it could lead to headaches and a fuzzy, hazy feeling. Experiencing any of these in the middle of your game could be catastrophic, so you have to find ways to hydrate yourself throughout the game.
5. Study the rules and follow them to the letter.
For that matter, contact sports or any sports discipline have established rules that athletes should follow down to the smallest details. If you’re into high-risk sports, you should all the more do your research by studying the game rules and taking them to heart. By doing so, you wouldn’t just give yourself the competitive advantage but also allow you to avoid hurting yourself or other athletes you’re playing with and against.
6. Eat healthy food.
Proper nutrition is vital in making you physically strong to perform well and avoid potential injuries. You could do quick online research to know which food options are considered healthy for athletes, or you can take the safe route and consult with a registered dietitian-nutritionist who could craft a custom diet program that suits your specific dietary and nutrition needs.
By following these six tips, you could avoid all forms of injuries and let yourself perform better while enjoying your chosen sports.
Meta title: Avoid Contact Sports Injuries With These Six Tricks
meta desc: Contact sports can be bloody and lead to serious injuries if done with some safeguards. Here are six ways to protect yourself from injuries during contact sports.