School may be out, but sports continue to play on. Sport and exercise are extremely beneficial for health and well-being and have shown to improve muscle tone, energy levels, and lower the risk of many chronic diseases. As with any physical activity, participation in sports does carry an adherent risk of injury; however, education and preparation can significantly decrease this risk and prepare athletes appropriately for their sport.
What Causes Sports Injuries?
Sports injuries come in many different forms, from strained muscles and blisters to torn cartilage and broken bones. The most common types of sports injuries include muscle sprains and strains, tears of the ligaments or tendons, dislocated joints, swollen muscles, and fractured bones. During the summer months there is an added risk of environmental illnesses such as heat exhaustion and dehydration.
Common causes of sports injuries include:
- Lack of training/poor technique
- Overestimating your fitness capabilities
- Pushing your body too hard, such as overtraining
- Faulty equipment
- Overuse (Children are still growing and their bodies are still changing, so they are at particular risk of overuse injury.)
How Can You Avoid Sports Injuries?
Not all sports injuries can be prevented, but there are ways you can reduce your risk:
- Train properly. Learning to train properly can be difficult. Areas include lifting technique, load progression, recovery and skilled movements. The sports medicine team at Western Wisconsin Health can provide athletes with a clear understanding of the proper training techniques and the preparation needed to excel at sports.
- Warm up. Depending on the sport you participate in, this may include both static and dynamic stretching, and movement specific patterns designed to increase core body temperature and prepare you for sport specific tasks.
- Understand your limitations. Be aware of your physical capabilities prior to participating in strenuous activities.
- Hydrate appropriately. Hydration needs vary between each individual and are influenced by environment, clothing attire, and one’s own metabolic function. Hydration before and after exercise in equally as important as hydrating during exercise. Thus, we recommend taking a close look at intake of water/electrolytes and out-take, such as sweating and urination.
- Avoid heat stress. Monitor for signs of heat stress, such as bright red skin and a lack of sweating or cold, clammy skin. Wear light-colored clothes, such as dry-fit sportswear and hats that wick water away from the skin.
- Gradually increase training intensity. Depending on your experience, build frequency, duration, and intensity at a steady pace.
What is a Sports Physical and why is it important?
A sports physical exam refers to a Pre-Participation Physical Examination (PPE). This exam helps determine whether it’s safe for you to participate in a particular sport. The State of Wisconsin requires a sports physical every two years before participants can start a new sport or begin a new competitive season. “A pre-participation sports physical is designed to identify any high-risk disorders that may affect a student-athletes ability to participate in athletics. Our sports medicine team at Western Wisconsin Health will provide a comprehensive physical examination to allow proper guidance of the student-athlete throughout the course of the school year,” said Daniel Teece, Director of Rehabilitation Services.
Western Wisconsin Health is offering discounted WIAA approved sports physicals for area student athletes on Wednesday, June 29, 2016 from 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm. The cost is $25.00 on this day only. Appointments are required and a parent or guardian must be present with the student. These discounted sports physicals are only for participation in WIAA sanctioned sports. If there are additional health concerns, further testing may be required. Immunizations will also be available for an additional fee or billed to your insurance. If you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please call 715-684-1111.