Here at Elite, we’re happy to celebrate National Youth Sports Safety Month! After all, our expert team of Physical Therapists, Sports Performance Coaches and Personal Trainers are passionate about reducing the injury risk of our patients, athletes, and clients. Our Physical Therapists works to help injured athletes recover from injury or surgery and get back on the field as quickly and safely as possible. Meanwhile, our Sports Performance coaches and trainers work to improve our athletes’ strength, speed, power and agility while also working to reduce their injury risk. So needless to say, we’re all committed to keeping our athletes healthy, strong and safe!
So in honor of National Youth Sports Safety Month, here are a few tips from our expert team on how you can help yourself, or the athletes in your family, stay healthy during the upcoming spring season (and many seasons to come!)
1 . Train smart and reap the benefits of a well-designed training program!
Let’s face it…when it comes to choosing a training program, most athletes would prefer a “sports performance enhancement” program to an “injury prevention program.” We get it. Most athletes don’t expect to get injured…until they do. Fortunately, a sound, well-designed, sport-specific training program is ALSO an effective injury risk reduction program. That’s one of the reasons that every athlete at Elite undergoes an Athlete Assessment, which includes a Functional Movement Screen and various baseline testing. That way, our coaches can customize each program to the athlete to ensure we’re addressing any deficits in mobility, stability (or both) that may increase an athlete’s risk of injury down the road.
2. Consistency is key!
Off-season training is a key time for any athlete as they prepare for the season ahead. It’s during the off-season when our athletes typically make the biggest gains in strength, power, agility and speed so they enter the season at a peak level of performance. However, without an ongoing training stimulus during the season, it doesn’t take long for the de-training effect to kick in, which helps explain why many athletes start to wear down and sustain injuries as the season progresses. Here at Elite, we’re big proponents of in-season training to help our athletes maintain the gains they worked so hard to achieve and prevent the gradual deterioration in strength, power and performance as the season progresses. To learn more about the importance of in-season training, check out our blog post HERE.
3. Incorporate a proven injury prevention program into your pre-practice and pre-game warm up!
Over the past couple of decades, several effective injury prevention programs have been developed to help reduce the risk of injury, especially lower body injuries (i.e. knee ligament sprains, ankle sprains, muscle strains, etc) that are common in many field sports that require frequent cutting, pivoting, jumping, and sprinting. A recent meta-analysis in the Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy expanded upon research findings from 2018 and confirmed that many of these programs are supported by research and have been shown to reduce the risk of severe knee injuries, including ACL tears, in athletes. Some of these effective programs include the FIFA 11 and 11+, HarmoKnee, PEP, and SportsMetrics programs, among others. Ideally, these programs should start in the pre-season and continue throughout the entire season prior to practices, games, and particularly for women athletes under the age of 18. Yes, these programs take some time and effort to implement and execute, but when you compare that with the physical, mental, emotional, and financial cost of an ACL tear, reconstructive surgery, and a 9-12 month rehab program, it may prove to be a very wise investment!
4. Don’t let a ‘little’ injury turn into something bigger!
We understand it’s a short season and you’ve worked hard to make the most of it. No competitive athlete wants to miss valuable time from a sport they love due to an injury, and also risk playing time, a roster spot, or letting down teammates. But sometimes trying to play through an injury can result in poor performance, prolong your recovery, or worse, result in a more serious injury down the road. Remember, the biggest risk factor for injury is…previous injury. If you suffer an injury, it’s always a good idea to let your team’s Athletic Trainer know and seek treatment if necessary to help expedite healing time and reduce the risk of another injury. If necessary, you may seek out the services of a Sports Physical Therapist (such as those at Elite) who can also help diagnose and treat a variety of sports injuries and get you on the fast track to recovery and back on the field safely and effectively.
If you would like to learn more about how you can prepare for your upcoming season or get the most out of in-season training, we’re here to help! Elite’s team of Sports Physical Therapists and Sports Performance Coaches can help you recover from an injury or improve your strength, speed, power, and agility with a personalized, sport-specific training program. We’ve helped thousands of athletes elevate their game and reduce their risk of injury and we can help you as well.
Elite Sports Performance & Physical Therapy offers Sports Performance programs and Sports Physical Therapy at both our Foxboro and Stoughton locations. To learn more about our programs and services for athletes of all ages, click HERE or email us at EliteSPC@EliteFitCenter.com!
Our 12-week SPRING Sports Performance Program in Foxboro has kicked off and and runs through June 10th! Space is limited to sign up today HERE! Monthly training programs are also available at both our Foxboro & Stoughton locations.
Reference: Arundale, AJH, Bizzini M, Dix C et al. Exercise-Based Knee and Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury Prevention. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2022:52:CPG1-CPG34. http://doi.org/10.2519/jospt.2022.0301.