All posts in Injury

Injury Management (Part 1 of 2)

Posted in: Fitness, Injury, Speed Training, Sports Training, Strength Training

Sports injuries, or injuries that occur in athletic activities, can result from acute trauma or from overuse of a particular body part. The key is to be proactive to reduce the chances of injuries. We know that not all injuries can be prevented even with proper training and techniques but we want to reduce the chances for our athletes.

Common injuries include:

  • Sprains – tears to the ligaments that join the ends of bones together. The ankles, knees, and wrists are commonly affected by sprains.
  • Strains – pulls or tears of muscles or tendons (the tissues that attach the muscles to the bones)
  • “Shin splints” – pain along the outside front of the lower leg, commonly seen in runners
  • Achilles tendonitis or rupture of the Achilles tendon – These injuries involve the large band of tissue that connects the calf muscles to the heel
  • Fractures of the bones – This requires a licensed Athletic Trainer and Doctor
  • Dislocation of joints – This requires a licensed Athletic Trainer and Doctor

 Most common injuries occur from:

  • Lack of Flexibility/Mobility – tight muscles will overload joints and cause other muscles to work harder and more {How often do your athletes stretch, foam roll, and do mobility exercises?]
  • Imbalanced Muscles – weak muscles ratio to tight muscles [Are your girls stronger on their right side or maybe their quads are good but their hamstrings are weak?]
  • Poor Warm-up Techniques and Muscle Activations – getting this right covers a multitude of sins [A proper warm-up includes: Mobility and full range of motion exercises/drills, Muscle Activation exercises/drills, Myofascial Release]
  • Lack of Conditioning – a deconditioned athlete is a recipe for disaster [When athletes get tired, form and technique go out the window.]
  • Over Training/Over Using (joints/muscles) – the most common mistake we as coaches apply to our athletes…we often think more is better [An overtrained athlete often looks like an under-conditioned athlete. Be careful not to pour on more if they are already maxed out. Rest is sometimes just what the doctor ordered.]
  • Lack of Knowledge Training Genders – Females athletes need to focus on ACL preventative exercises and drills [Females struggle with weak posteriors that lead to instability in the knee. Spending extra time strengthening the hamstrings is extremely important.]

Injuries can be devastating or simply a minor set back. Either way the player and team are both affected. It is everyone’s job to help mitigate our athlete’s risk of injury. This means practices and training must have built in time to work on specific things to help our athletes have a better chance of staying healthy. Only focusing on skills and conditioning often misses the boat on injury mitigation. It may take you 10-15 minutes of practice, but better that then losing a player for the season!

Stretching, strengthening, foam rolling, and mobility exercises are all important when it comes to reducing an athlete’s risk of injury. Next month we will break down the main joints of the body to identified common muscle/joint imbalances and suggest exercises to correct those imbalances.

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Injury Mitigation

Posted in: Injury

injury mitigation for youth athletes - DX3 Athlete

Injury Mitigation for Youth Athletes

The possibility of injury always weighs on our minds as we watch our athletes perform their sport or simply the craziness of youth. As coaches and parents we often forget that we, too, were once fearless and bulletproof! Injuries can’t be prevented, however injury mitigation and management can be substantially improved through three simple practices:

  1. Proper Preparation (Warm up, Flexibility and Activation)
  2. Proper Training (Techniques and Volumes)
  3. Appropriate Recovery (Nutrition, Active De-loading and Sleep)

In the current times of athletic, academic and social demands we must all remain aware and informed of the mental and physical stress that our kids are expected to endure. Our mind and body can’t necessarily determine the difference in the type of stress, so it is important to be appropriately conditioned and recovered, accounting for all bouts of stress regardless of its origin.

Assess + Learn + Plan + Execute = Success

The old analogy of more is better does not always hold true, and usually hurts if not properly balanced. Too much is simply too much, and we can be overloaded beyond capacity without proper recovery. What is too much? That’s the million dollar question. Everyone has a different capacities, but regardless of capacity overload leads to mental fatigue, muscular fatigue, muscle and joint injury and lost confidence. We often see the signs of these in our athletes and want them to just power through, that isn’t usually the best solution.

An injury can be the result of many factors, some preventable, many not. Generally we have found that an injury occurs for 5 main reasons:

  1. Improper training (Overtraining, undertraining or no training)
  2. Lack of strength (Neuromuscular process and functional)
  3. Improper load or impact (which can be greatly improved with technique and strength training)
  4. Mental and/or Physical Fatigue (often due to too much stress and not enough recovery)
  5. On field/court contact (sometimes avoidable, but not always)

All coaches and parents must understand the level of stress our youth are in, it isn’t the same as it was for us. With a proper understanding coaches must incorporate a proper rest/work ratio that allows athletes to progress and develop so they can perform at their best. During rest phases athletes must focus on getting extra sleep, drinking a lot of water, and eating healthy. With adequate rest athletes will perform more and at a higher level during the work phase.

Regardless of what activity or sport our athletes (any child age 7 and up, based on the Mayo Clinic) are participating in, they should learn proper preparation and warm up, correct movement patterns and have strength training as part of their weekly schedule. All three should be non-negotiable as they lead to injury mitigation and maximized performance.

As coaches and parents it is our job to prepare, protect, and enable our athletes to be better prepared for sports and for life. Teaching kids what it looks like to properly balance work and rest will serve them well long after sports. And it will serve you well as they perform at a higher level and last longer on the court or field.

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