Experts Offer Tips to Help Keep Fall Sports Injury Free

Football, soccer, volleyball players urged to take proper safety measures

SATURDAY, Sept. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Fall sports such as soccer, football and volleyball are in high gear and players need to take steps to prevent injuries, experts say.

In 2011, there were about 1.2 million people treated for football-related injuries in U.S. emergency rooms and doctors' offices, along with more than 581,000 treated for soccer injuries and more than 170,000 treated for volleyball injuries, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

"Not all injuries can be prevented, however many can be avoided," orthopedic surgeon and American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons spokesperson Dr. Jeffrey Abrams said in an AAOS news release.

"The fact is, when one decides to participate in a sport, he or she needs to consider everything that comes with the territory. That includes taking the responsibility to follow proper safety measures such as warming up, and completing a health and wellness evaluation to determine their ability to play in the game before each season," Abrams advised.

The AAOS, the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine and the STOP Sports Injuries campaign offer the following safety tips:

  • Have a pre-season physical examination and follow your doctor's recommendations.
  • Always wear the appropriate protective gear, such as helmets, mouth guards, pads or fitted cleats.
  • Take time to warm up and cool down properly with low-impact exercises that gradually increase or slow heart rate.
  • Minimize overuse injuries by playing multiple positions and different sports during the off-season.
  • Keep track of weather conditions in order to avoid heat illness or wet, slippery conditions that can lead to injuries.
  • Make sure to do strength training and stretching.
  • Drink enough to stay hydrated. If you wait until you're thirsty, it may be too late to hydrate properly.
  • Never play through the pain. If you have an injury, seek medical help.
  • Don't overtrain. If you develop pain or discomfort, decrease your training time and intensity. This will lower your risk of injury and help you avoid burnout.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases has more about sports injuries and prevention.

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