Every athlete wants to find success both on and off the field. But there is more too being successful then meets the eye. There are many different aspects that go into the process that most athletes are unaware of.
Have you ever wondered why injuries occur? If there was a way that you could prevent them or if they are just inevitable when you participate in sports? I myself have been asking this questions for years.
If you are familiar with my blogs, then you are already aware that I myself am a female athlete. I am a proud member of the Women’s lacrosse team at Towson University. I have been playing lacrosse since I was five years old, along with a handful of other sports.
Just recently I obtained a season-ending injury when I tore my ACL in my left knee in our final game of the season on April 22,2012. I can honestly say that the first questions to pop up in my head were why? Why now? If I had done something different would this have happened? How could I have prevented this?
The doctors told me that it was a “ticking time bomb”, and was bound to happen sooner or later in my sports career. But if that were so, then why doesn’t everyone tear there ACL? For those people who don’t then what are they doing differently than me? Those were more questions that I kept asking myself.
So I began to look online to see if I could find some possible answers to my questions. On the Science Daily website there was a recent article from April 12, 2012 posted that was titled, Nearly 30 percent of all College Athlete Injuries a result of ‘Overuse.’
A study has found was that most often in “low-contact sports that involve long training sessions or where the same movement is repeated numerous times — make up nearly 30 percent of all injuries sustained by collegiate athletes” (Science Daily.) During the study they also found that 62 percent of the overuse injuries occurred in females athletes.
To these results I would have to agree that athletic injuries seem to occur more throughout the female gender. Throughout my athletic history I have found that more of my female friends have sustained injuries such as tendentious, inflammation, sprains and tears.
This new study was published in the current edition of the Journal of Athletic Training, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association scientific publication.The study sample consisted of “573 male and female collegiate athletes from an NCAA Division I institution participating in 16 team sports” (Science Daily.)
According to the study co-author Tracey Covassin, “Understanding the frequency, rate and severity of overuse injuries is an important first step for designing effective injury-prevention programs, intervention strategies and treatment protocols to prevent and rehabilitate athletes with these types of injuries” (Science Daily.)
The study found that, “Overuse injuries tend to occur gradually and are caused by repeated small injuries, without a single, identifiable event responsible for the injury” (Science Daily.) Whereas, injuries occurring in high-speed and full-body-contact sports are “more likely to be acute injuries, which result from a specific and identifiable event” (Science Daily.)
Through my research I found that though I cannot eliminate the possibility of overuse, it is not the main reason for my injury. Through my injury records I had hyper-extended and sprained my LCL three times before actually tearing my ligament. Thus why the “ticking time bomb” explanation was brought up. Throughout each time that I injured my knee, I just loosened the ligaments a little more than they should have been.
In addition to loosening my ligaments, on the actually day I tore my ACL it was raining outside and abnormally cold for the spring temperatures we are normally use too. With the prior injuries and the weather, this was also our final game of the season. That meaning that we had already been practicing almost everyday since January 9th.
So even though lacrosse isn’t considered to be a sport that has a history of overuse injuries, I wouldn’t eliminate that as a possibility because there is repetition is our motions.Whether exhaustion, overuse, the weather or if it was completely inevitable the injury has already occurred. Hopefully soon enough they will find better prevention tips for ACL tears, so that no other athletes have to miss their seasons.
Michigan State University (2012, April 12). Nearly 30 percent of all college athlete injuries a result of ‘overuse’. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 7, 2012, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120412113720.htm
I have been involved in athletics since I was 5-years-old. I have played lacrosse, soccer, field hockey, basketball, dancing, and swimming. Throughout the years I have found that the older I get the more injury prone I am. I know that my body can no longer take the wear and tare that athletics puts on it.
While I am in my third year of being a college athlete, I find every day a new injury forming in a new area of my body. I can only wonder why I feel as if I am a middle aged woman, when in actuality I am only 20. If I had waited longer before becoming as serious with sports I wonder if I would have decreased my injury rates.
Vise versa if I had began my athletic career earlier, would I have had more injuries at a younger age? Today’s studies have found that my second statement is accurate. Now a days female athletes have had an increasing issue with the rate of injuries. My younger sister is only 13-years-old and she has had a severe concussion, two sprained ankles, knee problems, and wrist problems. So what is changing in the sports world that is contributing these rates increasing?
For one I think that the increasing pressures that parents are putting on their children at younger ages is adding to the problem . Girls as young as 3rd grade are taking on the same responsibilities and tasks that are involved with teams as those of high school or college students.
For example parents have been sending their children to personal trainers when they are only in elementary school. Parents have also increased the amount of teams and sports that their children are participating in at one time. I remember that I was only in middle school I was playing rec. field hockey, rec. lacrosse, club lacrosse, club field hockey, basketball, and swimming all during one year. This amount of pressure on a child’s body at an early age will increase the chance of injuries as they get older.
The reason that parents are adding more pressure on their children at earlier ages is because the recruiting process to make college and professional teams has become way more competitive. In today’s athletic world, girls are expected to start thinking about getting recruited as early as freshman year in high school. So they are taking all the possible opportunities to get scouted.
But is all the pressure really worth it in the end? Take it from someone who has done it……the answer is no! My best advice is to take care of your bodies and injuries when you are growing up, because they will come back to haunt you as you get older.
The part of practice that every athlete hates is the warm up. Most don’t even warm up or stretch, and just begin playing immediately. But it has been found that with the proper warm up that the amount of athlete injurys can be decreased.
Scientists discovered this past fall that coach-led neuromuscular warm-up training before athelets are exposed to playing helps reduces lower-extremity injuries. Cynthia R. LaBella, MD, from the Children’s Memorial Hospital, Chicago, Illinois, and colleagues conudcted a study that invited coaches, and out of all the coaches invited 90 completed the study, representing 105 teams.
The warm up combines progressive strengthening with plyometric, balance, and agility exercises. Compared with athletes who were not properlly warmed up, the coaches who implemented the warm up before every practice had a 44% decrease in acute noncontact lower-extremity injuries and a 34% decrease in noncontact ankle sprains among players in the intervention group.
I completely agree with this study. I know from history and tons of experience playing a sport that without stretching you increase your risks at cramping, pulling, tearing, twisting and tweaking anything on your body. Warming up before you become involved in any type of exercise helps to loosen your muscles. It alsohelps to gradually get your body ready to increase the high amounts of energy that it is about to use.
Other experts have found that warming up before a practice is very important for the following reasons:
- Increased movement of blood through your tissues, making the muscles more pliable.
- Increased delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your muscles. This prevents you from getting out of breath early or too easily.
- Prepares your muscles for stretching
- Prepares your heart for an increase in activity, preventing a rapid increase in blood pressure
- Prepares you mentally for the upcoming exercise
- Primes your nerve-to-muscle pathways to be ready for exercise
- Improved coordination and reaction times
As an amateur athlete you don’t spend much time thinking or researching the benefits that warming up can do for your body. Most think of it as tedious and a waste of time. Thats why it is very important to have coaches or any person incharge follow through on making sure that their players are properly warmed up and stretched before they begin to play. This is the perfect way to make sure that your athletes are preparing themselves physically and mentally.