3 Tips to Help Prevent Sports Injuries

Posted on 
February 22, 2024

No matter the activity or ability level, a sports injury can be devastating both physically and mentally to young athletes. As parents and coaches, we want to do what we can to help them stay safe, healthy and in competition. Below, Forté athletic trainer and outreach operations manager Jillian Hacker provides three tips to help prevent sports injuries and the benefits of each.

Incorporate a Dynamic Warmup
It’s no secret that stretching is essential for preventing and managing injuries. The two main types, static and dynamic, are helpful in different ways. When you think of traditional stretches, such as holding a single position for a period of time, you’re describing a static stretch that lengthens muscles and increases flexibility. A dynamic stretch, in comparison, uses sport-specific movements to prepare muscles, ligaments and soft tissues for exercise. A warmup incorporating dynamic stretches can help your athletes prevent injuries by increasing the speed and power needed for their sport.
“You only get a certain amount of time with your athletes, and using a dynamic warmup gets them moving a little bit quicker,” says Hacker. “These exercises get their muscles ready to go and introduce the athletes to what they’re going to have to do throughout practice or competition, which is important both physically and mentally.” Examples of dynamic stretches that can be incorporated into a warmup include an inchworm, lunge walk, knee hug, side lunge and hip opener.

Utilize Resistance Training
Numerous studies have shown that incorporating resistance training, also known as strength or weight training, into a practice routine has wide-ranging benefits, including injury prevention.
Resistance training helps prevent injuries by increasing lean body mass, allowing athletes to safely produce the high power and speed needed for sports. It increases bone mineral density, which helps prevent stress fractures. It also boosts muscle endurance, allowing muscles to tolerate longer bouts of sports activities.
“Large forces on the body can cause injury, but if the body is stronger, it can accept those forces at a better rate,” says Hacker. “If we train the body to know how to handle those forces, then injuries are less likely to occur.”

Follow Environmental Safety Regulations
Coaches and parents can also help prevent sports injuries by following environmental safety recommendations. Examples include being aware of and heeding severe weather alerts such as heat advisories and storm warnings.
It is recommended to suspend activities when the leading edge of a storm is within six miles of play and wait 30 minutes after the last flash of lightning and crash of thunder before resuming practice.
“Everyone should be moved inside during a storm,” says Hacker. “You want to relocate to indoor facilities such as a gym or school building because lightning can still enter open spaces such as dugouts, tents or garages.”
Additionally, athletes should be acclimatized to heat over one to two weeks to help prevent heat-related illnesses, such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which can be deadly.
“The National Athletic Trainers Association offers guidelines on gradually increasing activities and sports equipment to best protect athletes,” says Hacker. “On the first day, football players may have a single three-hour practice only in helmets and then gradually build up each day until they’re in full pads.” NATA also provides guidelines for rest, hydration and practice length as the heat index rises. Learn more about best practices related to specific healthcare topics.

These recommendations have been excerpted from Coaches Corner, a free monthly webinar series for coaches, athletic directors and athletic trainers. The series, developed and presented by Forté, in partnership with IHSAA, aims to arm coaching and support teams with helpful information to consider when working with their athletes. Subscribe online so you don’t miss an episode.

related articles

Franciscan Orthopedic Surgery Center In Carmel Awarded ACHC Certification

CARMEL, Indiana - Franciscan Orthopedic Surgery Center, which is a joint venture with Franciscan Health Orthopedic Hospital Carmel and Forté Sports Medicine and Orthopedics, was recently awarded full certification for […]

Veteran Shares Journey with Shoulder Replacement Surgery

Within 36 hours of shoulder replacement surgery, U.S. Army veteran Biane Kidwell could tell the procedure had been successful. “There was a distinct difference between the shoulder pain I had […]

Medical Student Credits Indianapolis Colts, Forté Physicians for “Incredible” Clinical Experience

Adam Munoz is learning what it takes to be a sports medicine physician for professional athletes. Throughout August, the medical student from Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta joined Forté […]

Our Noblesville Forté Fast urgent care clinic will close at 11:00 am on Friday, April 19th.

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram