Preventing Sports Injury: Basic Steps, General Advice

Sports are dangerous, and this year we’ve certainly seen a lot of injuries on our school sports teams. Preventing injuries is always a priority, and we hope to have less in the future.

The American Academy of Pediatrics lists these top things to reduce the risk of athletic injury:

1. Set aside at least one day per week, and one month per year in which you won’t train or engage in vigorous activity.

2. Stop if there is pain, and talk to your coach immediately.

3. If you have been injured, do not resume play until the injury has healed completely.

4. Wear the correct gear for the sport, during both practice and games. Don’t slack on the protective gear, and dress for the weather. All of the gear you wear should fit you perfectly!

5. Strengthen muscles and increase your flexibility by using a Crossfit program and stretching after games and practice.

6. Use proper technique, especially to run, during practices and make sure that your coach reinforces proper form.

7. During a practice or game take breaks, such as a water break or a rest period.

8. Follow the rules of the sport.

9. Increase your intake of water while participating in a sports or athletic season. This means that you should drink water before, during, and after practice.


Joie Zier playing the field in 2015 before her injury this year / Yearbook Staff

Overall, the most common reason for injury in young athletes is overuse. While participating in sports, it is important to recognize your limits and stop or reduce physical activity when you experience pain.

In all sports, the athlete runs the risk of injury. However, the higher the amount of contact in a sport, the more likely it is that some type of traumatic injury will occur. Therefore, if you are a player who tends to make a lot of unnecessary (seeking out contact that is not required to play the sport efficiently) contact with opponents, maybe  consider decreasing that. Before playing in Orcas Island Viking sports all athletes must read a pamphlet on concussions and how to avoid, spot, and handle them. The likelihood of getting a concussion and other traumatic injury is decreased when follow the steps above. But it is important to remember that these things still happen, and when they do, it is necessary to seek medical help and not resume activity until it has been cleared by a doctor.

According to Myers Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center, the five most common categories of sports injuries are strains and sprains, knee injuries, shin splints, fractures, and dislocations. Strains and sprains can happen in any sort of sport or physical activity, and most athletes will experience at least one minor strain or sprain. Sprains occur when the ligament is stretched beyond what is it capable of, and in severe cases, is severed. Strains are pulled muscles, and also range from minor to severe. Knee injuries tend to involve bruising or damage to the cartilage and ligaments of the knee. They could be tendonitis, runner’s knee or a tear of a ligament such as the ACL. Shin splints are generally caused by running, or too much running, with improper form or on hard surfaces. While strains, sprains, and knee injuries range from minor to severe, fractures and dislocations are almost always emergencies and classified as traumatic. They often times require emergency and/or medical help, a long recovery time, and possibly even surgery to fix. By following the steps above, you can help to decrease your risk of these injuries.