How To Prevent Athletic Injuries In Your Upcoming Sport Season
2018, The Year of Prevention!
In preparation for the upcoming spring sports, many trainers and coaches will incorporate an injury prevention program in to their pre-season training. School age students participating in team sports are at a higher risk for sport-related injuries. Of these, lower extremity injuries have statistically shown to be the most common, accounting for more than half of all reported sports injuries. An increase in both non-contact and contact related injuries in recent years continues to drive research to develop effective injury prevention programs. For many teams, implementing an injury prevention program into pre-season training may significantly reduce the risk of lower extremity and specifically knee ACL injuries. There is strong evidence supporting a 52% risk reduction in female athletes and 85% in male athletes.
An athlete is at risk when participating in sports such as soccer, basketball, football, and others where they are involved in jumping, pivoting, or cutting. A growing number of prevention programs focus on neuromuscular and proprioceptive training to reduce landing forces and decreasing knee adduction (valgus, see picture above) and abduction (varus) moments. A well-developed prevention program will include, but not limited to, lower extremity plyometrics such as single-leg hurdle hops (below), dynamic balance and strength, stretching, body awareness, and decision-making targeted at core and trunk control.
At the HIT Center, we assess our athletes at the beginning of their program and address all improper body mechanics which may put the athlete at a higher risk for injury. With this information, we develop a “pre-hab” program for the athlete to incorporate into the dynamic warm-up. Pre-season is a great time to begin an injury prevention program, however, it is important to also implement an in-season maintenance program and develop techniques to insure compliance to the exercises and program. If you have any concerns about your athlete or would like to learn more about the HIT Center’s Athletic Development Program, please contact us at 304-529-4482.
Kristen McFadden, MS
Return to Sport Bridge Program Director
HIT Center Exercise Physiologist