With today’s high of 52°F in Rochester NY, we can’t help but hope Punxsutawney Phil was wrong about 5 more weeks of winter. While spring has its own set of dangers, ‘spring fever’ is potentially the worst of them, especially for athletes itching to get back onto the field for the spring sports season. Most athletes, from grade school to high school, want to dive right back in, but there is actually a lot of prep that goes into ensuring a safe and healthy season.
Conditioning & Check up
Getting your body back into the swing of activity after winter ‘hibernation’ is incredibly important. Physical conditioning is a pre-season warm up that helps your body work its way back up to peak athletic performance, rather than jumping into a game expecting your body to perform at the same level as the previous season (you’re gonna be really sore, if not worse). “According to the National Children’s Hospital, 50% of injuries could have been avoided if the athletes had been properly conditioned before competing in their respective sport” (source). Conditioning helps prevent injuries by working on muscular strength, endurance, coordination, agility, and more. This will reduce injury potential while improving performance and increasing confidence on the field. Conditioning programs are usually customized to the player based on any previous injuries, physical demands of the sport and/or position, and the players known strengths and weaknesses.
Scheduling a physical with your doctor can ensure you start the season to a healthy start, and they may be able to offer further insight into any known weakness. Most schools require this prior to the start of the season.
Familiarizing yourself with the coach and team and opening that line of communication will help communication throughout the season both on and off the field.
Equipment & Education
Most – if not all – spring sports require specific equipment ranging from helmets to padding and more. Making sure all of your equipment is properly fitted and performing to its maximum intended potential is important, especially at the rate of growth in elementary and high school season to season. Buying new equipment on a yearly basis may be necessary.
Educate yourself on the risks associated with your sport. In almost any sport, concussions are a major risk. Knowing the symptoms of concussions and educating teammates will help you recognize one fast if it occurs. Other common risks include:
-ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) Tear (Knee) – The ACL holds the leg bone to the knee, and when torn is not easily fixed. This will put you out of commission for the season and will require a doctors visit.
-Ankle Sprain – This occurs most often when the foot turns inward, stretching and tearing the ligaments on the outer ankle.
-Shin Splints – Generally occurring in those who run long distances, this is sharp pains on the front of your lower leg.
-Groin Pull – Common in hockey and soccer, this occurs when the inner thigh muscles tighten.
There are more injuries to keep an eye out for depending what sport you are playing.
Supplies & Snacks
So, the odds of you getting hurt on the field are pretty high. Will you be ready if you do? Stocking up on supplies (before its too late) will guarantee you have anything you could need on hand, no matter the situation.
This is a list of our must have Sideline Supplies for this spring season:
–Instant Heat Packs – Heat will relax tense muscles between games.
–Braces and Supports – These are most often worn when doctor recommended, but will help enforce any weakened muscles.
–Muscle Rub – No time for a cold pack? Use Muscle Rub, which will continually soothe muscle aches associated with strains and sprains.
–Sports First Aid Kit – Finding a Sports First Aid Kit that will be able to service your team will be the MVP of the sidelines in the event of an injury. We carry First Aid Kits that range in size and contents, making it easy to find the best fit for your team.
-Snacks and Water – Keeping snacks and water on hand is important – low blood sugar or dehydration could lead to loss of consciousness and collapse.
Taking preventative action and the proper steps to prepare can ensure a safe and healthy Spring Sports Season.