Sports today have taken over many athletes lives. As a result of year-round athletics, athletes are getting injured more frequently and at younger ages. If you look back at how athletics was run 20 years ago, most athletes played a sport for a single season. Then they had several months to partake in another sport or just recover from the season. The problem nowadays is that athletes are training in the same sport all year long with no breaks or any type of cross-training. This has lead to a monumental rise in the number of injuries athletes are incurring. Not only are they getting injured more frequently and with more serious ailments, but they are getting injured much younger than before.
There are a number of reasons for the increase in athletic injuries. One of the main reasons is the continual year round season that transpires in most sports. It is no longer just a single basketball season or football season, you have training protocols being applied all year long, plus combine that with the number of travel programs. The athletes of years ago used to reap the benefits of cross-training for another sport. The secondary sport may or may not incorporate a variety of other muscles in the body that they were not previously using or not using in that capacity. They also had the benefit of an off-season in which they maybe took some time off from the grueling season they just finished with. This allows the body to recover and respond to any trauma that may have been incurred during the season.
Another reason for the rise of injuries is the coaches’ training protocol. Some coaches use the, “I’m going to make you train until you puke” method. This is the most ridiculous thought process, think about if you applied the same thing to your job. You go into work and the boss says, “Today you are going to work until you puke”. Would anyone want to work there? Vomiting during a workout has no bearing on how in shape or out of shape you are. It actually shows the lack of a high I.Q. in the coach. Any moron can run someone into the ground by pushing their limits. A more productive approach is to have a conversation about nutritional choices prior to starting the training protocol and if you see an athlete struggling back off of the workout. It is far more beneficial to chat with an athlete about what may be going on from a nutritional, physical, or psychological standpoint, than to just continue making them train until they puke or pass out. A fair amount of coaches fail to take the time to teach the basics of running mechanics and change of direction, which ultimately can cost the time as the season wears on. If most of your athletes are injured by mid-season, that means you are failing from a training protocol standpoint.
One of the last reasons an athlete gets injured is because they are not training using exercises that involve unilateral movement. This means that although you can develop power and speed from exercise like squats, powercleans, etc. , these should not be the only exercises that you incorporate into your training protocol. Most studies are now finding that exercises such as lunges, box step ups, etc. are far more beneficial for the body to reduce the susceptibility of injuries. Another cause of injury could be because the athlete is not utilizing appropriate recovery tools such as rest, foam rolling, and stretching. If an athlete fails to use these tools regularly they will be far more prone to sustaining a catastrophic injury.
What should an athlete do to try to prevent injuries? Well, first they should try to eat a proper well-balanced nutritional protocol to maximize their energy response and recovery. Secondly, they should make sure they are taking proper steps to be fully hydrated throughout the day. Third, they should be utilizing a proper strength training and stretching protocol that is sport specific for the position or sport they are playing. If they have the beginning stages of injuries, like nagging aches and pains, they should ask their coach or trainer to modify things to allow them to recover. Lastly, in the event you sustain an injury seek the help of a physical therapist, a licensed masseuse, a doctor, or a certified personal trainer with experience in rehabilitation of injuries. If you know of an athlete who is struggling with injuries, please refer them to Xcellerated Speed Training, we can help them get back to full functionality.