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The Importance of Avoiding Sports Injuries

by Callie Lyons

Sports injuries are sometimes an unavoidable consequence of playing, however the American Academy of Pediatrics states there are steps athletes can take to reduce the risk of harm.

More children are competing in sports than ever before. People of every age can benefit from physical fitness with a few important warm-ups.

The National Library of Medicine recommends getting a physical before beginning any new exercise regimen.  Also, wearing the right shoes, protective helmets, gear and equipment can enhance play and provide injury prevention.

Hot summer temperatures require sports enthusiasts to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated to be safe.

Also, Medline Plus recommends warming up with stretches prior to any strenuous physical activity.

Athletes who are recovering from injuries are advised to start slowly when resuming a sport.

There is a risk of injury with every sport. The National Institutes of Health explains that the most “frequent sports injuries are sprains strains and stress factures caused when an abnormal stress is placed on tendons, joints, bones and muscle.”  These injuries can happen as the result of an accident, poor training practices or improperly used or worn gear.

Physicians recommend the RICE method for the relief of minor injuries to “relieve pain, reduce swelling and speed healing.  The four steps, which are recommended for the 48 hours following an injury, include Rest, Ice Compression and Elevation.

Rest by reducing regular activities.  Ice the injured area for 20 minutes four to eight times a day.  Put even pressure or compression on the injury to reduce swelling. An elastic wrap, special boot, air cast or splint may be helpful. Finally, elevate the area to a level above your heart to help reduce swelling.

The National Institutes of Health states that athletes should not play again after an injury until stretching is possible without pain, swelling or stiffness. When a sport is resumed, it is important to start slowly and build up to complete rehabilitation.

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