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Practical Ways to Prevent Injury in Specific Sports

Being an athlete comes with a certain element of risk: Some sports are more injury-prone than others, but any athlete can potentially develop an acute or chronic injury. Many injuries are preventable, though.

Here, Dr. Michele LaBotz, a TrueSport Expert and sports medicine physician, explains how you can be your own greatest advocate when it comes to early injury detection as well as injury prevention.

Your Injury Risk Increases After Injury

You read that right: LaBotz points out that your biggest risk for injury is having a prior injury. If you do have a prior injury, it’s important to ask yourself (or a coach or athletic trainer) if you’re doing everything you can to rehabilitate the injury and to prevent it from recurring. Often, we get so excited to return to play that we neglect the physical therapy exercises we were given, or we ignore recovery advice in hopes of getting back to our previous level of play faster. But a slow and thoughtful return to sport after injury will better set you up for success and help avoid another injury from occurring.

Your Injury Risk Increases During Growth Spurts

As an athlete who may still be growing, it’s important to understand that during and after a growth spurt, you may be more prone to injury. “Injury risk goes up around the time of peak growth. When an athlete is growing fast, their proportions change, and that can lead to a lack of coordination” LaBotz says. “Oftentimes, during these periods of growth, an athlete will temporarily lose their sports skills, so then they train even harder because they want to get the skills back. But really, what they need to do is step back and focus on the fundamentals, build strength, build endurance, and build power. The sport-specific skill is going to come back, but if you push too hard, you will likely end up injured.”

Your Injury Risk Increases If You’re Trying to Lose Weight

Some sports have weight classes and you may be encouraged to drop to a lower weight category if you fall at the low end of the one you’re currently in. Many sports don’t have weight classes but do have a stereotypical ‘ideal’ body type that a coach may be promoting. Whatever the case, we know that young athletes often feel pressure to drop weight or maintain a certain body type for their sport. Underfueling and overtraining in pursuit of weight loss can make you more prone to almost every injury, from stress fractures to overuse injuries.

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Athlete Health Parent TrueSport