For many high school students, fall not only means a return to class, but a return to the field. Whether it’s for the school team or an intramural league; whether football, cheerleading, soccer, field hockey or any other sport; knowing how to minimize the chance of injury is vitally important. You know what they say about an ounce of prevention right?
In the weeks before classes start, many athletes are already taking to the practice field. Two-a- days are tough for any athlete; for teenagers they can be dangerous. The number one way to stay safe on a hot August afternoon is to stay hydrated. Athletes should make sure to drink plenty of fluids (without caffeine!) and watch for warning signs of heat-related problems, such as dark- colored urine, fatigue, dizziness, headaches, nausea, cramps, excessive sweating or a cessation of sweating. If one experiences any of these symptoms, they should immediately take the break to cool down and rehydrate.
A general way to lessen the chances of athletic injury is to have a warm- up and cool down routine. Coaches should work with athletes to develop such routines. Coaches should also be encouraging athletes to train during the offseason. Showing up in shape will benefit in many ways, including making injuries less likely.
Properly fitting pads and helmets are another key to injury prevention. Make sure to have any protective equipment fitted at purchase. If you suspect an improper fit, ask the coach to take a look. While no helmet or pad can completely protect against injury, a proper fit will minimize the risk of serious injuries like concussions.