According to Stop Sports Injuries, knee injuries are the most common injuries sustained while playing football. These injuries, which mainly affect the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments together with the menisci, can be prevented by simple measures like having proper warm up and cool down routines.
Studies have shown that cold muscles are more prone to injury and thus the hip, thigh and calf muscles should be the focus of pre-game stretches, though other muscle groups should not be ignored.
Maintaining general fitness during summer is another way of preventing football injuries in the fall. This can be done by following a balanced conditioning program which includes stretching, strength training and aerobic exercises.
Michigan Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, Health and Sports states that every athlete should receive a pre-participation physical evaluation (PPE) to detect any conditions that may predispose them to developing injuries or illnesses while playing football. Having this medical examination before playing is another way of preventing football injuries.
The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons also states that football players with joint problems should have a full range of motion and normal strength without any pain or swelling before they can be allowed to play. This safety precaution can prevent additional knee joint injuries.
Wearing properly fitted protective equipment is another way of preventing injuries while playing football. These should include a helmet, mouth guard, thigh guards and knee pads according to the Pop Warner Football Official Rule Book.
Hydrating appropriately can also prevent cramps and injuries when playing football. Proper hydration also ensures that the body can cool itself adequately through sweating. Generally it is recommended that footballers should drink 24 ounces of fluid 2 hours before playing. This hydration is also vital for treating heat injuries since it can help prevent the symptoms of painful muscle cramping from progressing into heat exhaustion, heat stroke and even death.
Written by: Marian Kim, FizzNiche Staff Writer