If a professional athlete dislocates a joint or tears a ligament, it makes the news. But anyone who plays sports can be injured. While all Airmen should be in good physical condition, family members may not be as ready for summer activities. Whether or not a person is conditioned, injuries can happen.
“Staying active lowers the risk of our bodies’ receiving damaging injuries,” said Staff Sgt. Timothy Noel, 56th Fighter Wing Ground Safety technician. “But, training above your ability can be even more damaging.”
One sport with rising injuries at Luke Air Force Base is basketball.
“Recently there has been a rise in the number of basketball incidents such as rolled ankles due to improper footwear and people pushing their limits,” Noel said. “One of the most important things we can do to help prevent injury to a basketball player is to wear proper high-top shoes when playing.”
For all sports and activities the Luke Safety office suggests the following tips to help prevent injuries:
Tips for adult athletes
- To prevent injury, adult athletes should take the following precautions:
- Don’t be a “weekend warrior,” packing a week’s worth of activity into a day or two. Try to maintain a moderate level of activity throughout the week.
- Learn to do the sport right. Using proper form can reduce the risk of “overuse” injuries such as tendinitis and stress fractures.
- Remember safety gear. Depending on the sport, this may mean knee or wrist pads or a helmet.
- Accept the body’s limits. A person may not be able to perform at the same level as 10 or 20 years ago. Modify activities as necessary.
- Increase the exercise level gradually.
- Strive for a total body workout of cardiovascular, strength training, and flexibility exercises. Cross-training reduces injury while promoting total fitness.
- Stay hydrated before, during and after activities.
Tips for preventing injury
- Avoid bending the knees past 90 degrees when doing half knee bends.
- Avoid twisting knees by keeping feet as flat as possible during stretches.
- When jumping, land with the knees bent.
- Do warm-up exercises not just before vigorous activities like running, but also before less vigorous ones such as golf. Do warm-up stretches before activity. Stretch the Achilles tendon, hamstring, and quadricep areas and hold the positions. Avoid bouncing.
- Avoid overdoing any activity and don’t show off.
- Cool down following vigorous sports. For example, after a race, walk or walk; jog for five minutes so the heart rate decreases gradually.
- Wear properly fitting shoes that provide shock absorption and stability.
- Avoid running on hard surfaces like asphalt and concrete. Run on flat surfaces. Running uphill may increase the stress on the Achilles tendon and the leg itself.
Courtesy of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases