There are various reasons why an injury might occur, including but not limited to improper training, improper technique, equipment failure, and/or anatomic or biomechanical issues of the athlete. When designing a program for an athlete, many things should be considered such as body and limb movement patterns and muscular involvement, physiological priorities such as strength, power, hypertrophy, muscular endurance and common sites for joint and muscle injury. While it is impossible to prevent every injury, research suggests that injury rates could be reduced by 25% if athletes took appropriate preventative actions.
No matter what sport an athlete plays, they should train adequately for that sport. A common misconception is that playing the sport itself will get you into shape. Many injuries can be prevented by following a regular conditioning program that is designed specifically for the athlete and the sport they play. Warming up sufficiently is also another key component to preventing injury. Warm muscles are less susceptible to injuries, so a sport-specific warm up is essential. Rest is also a critical component of proper training. Athletes with high consecutive days of training, tend to have more injuries. Rest can make an athlete stronger and prevent injuries of overuse and fatigue. Athletes who are less flexible than the average can benefit from flexibility exercises. Being flexible is more critical for players who play stop and go sports or those that require quick cuts and turns and can also be helpful in the prevention of injury.
The most common injuries in sports are ankle, knee and groin/hip injuries. Muscle weakness or imbalances of muscle groups can be the cause of an injury. Performing muscle strengthening exercises of the muscles that support the specific joint will make the joint more stable and less prone to injury. The knee joint, for example is supported by the quads, hamstrings and calf muscle. Working those 3 muscles will help the knee be more stable and reduce risk of possible injury. The same goes for ankle and groin/hip injuries. Exercising the muscles that support the ankle joint and the hip joint will make them more stable and less likely to be injured during practice or play.
Written By: WST Trainer Melissa Robinson