Football is one of the most popular sports to play for children, teens and adults. Playing Football can be a lot of fun, but getting injured while playing is far from fun. Whether football is being played recreationally or professionally, there is always a risk of injury. There is no way to completely avoid injuries from happening on the football field, but if you use these eight tips they will help prevent one from occurring:
Warm Up and Shape UpStretching is such an integral part of an injury-free season, so find a great stretching routine and stick to it religiously. Aside from stretching it is very important to have a strength- training program. Every year High School football coaches start to put pressure on kids to get in the weight room. Sure a more extensive, muscular kid does give the team a winning advantage, but the main reason coaches want their players in the weight room is to help prevent injuries. This is backed by science as well. According to the studies at the University of Florida, players who follow a controlled strength-training program are less likely to get injured while playing football.
Know The GameKnowledge is power. If you understand the play called and your responsibilities than you are less likely to take a blindside hit and leave yourself open to injuries.
Understanding the playbook is key to knowing what your team is doing on the field, so do not be afraid to ask for help. Football is a complex game, and it is not easy to learn, so ask your coaches any questions you have. If you do not feel comfortable asking coaches then find some knowledgeable teammates and ask them. The internet is another excellent source of information.
Only Play When HealthyNever play through extreme pain or sickness. The pain is there to tell you that there is something wrong, and you should listen. The word “extreme” is used because football is not a walk in the park. Throughout the season a player will have plenty of pain and discomfort, but there is a difference between being hurt and being injured. Never attempt to play when injured.
Be AlertKeep your head in the game at all times. Knowing your surroundings and duties will keep a safe player while on the field. There are plenty of hours in the day to think about cheerleaders, homework, parties, or whatever else is going on in that head, but now is game time!
Wear Protective GearProper gear is essential for walking off of the football field in the same health condition that you began the game. Players should always wear equipment that fits. Proper equipment consists of helmets, mouth guards, football cleats, and pads (shoulder, thigh, tailbone, hip, and rib). Not all protective gear is universal either.
For example, a mouth guard may need to be entirely different for different plays. For the most part, all you need is a “boil-and-bite” guard, but some players have braces. Another difference is some players such as the quarterback need to communicate better than others, and others may want to protect their lips and have a more massive guard.
Another piece of protective gear that can be personalised is football cleats. Cleats are the shoes with plastic or metal spikes that football players wear to be able to gain traction on the field. Football cleats are another piece of necessary equipment to have while playing.
Cleats can be a way for the player to stand out as an individual on their team. There are many styles, cleat types, and materials to choose from. Figure out what kinds of fields you will be playing on and select a cleat to go with it.
Take A BreakRest and recovery is not a weakness, but actually a strength. Our bodies need time off for rest. Taking a break not only recovers your body, but it also strengthens it. Not all damage is done physically either. Giving your body rest is also good for your mind.
Sleep is also a significant contributing factor for any athlete, but maybe more so for a football player. According to the article, “The Importance of Rest and Recovery for Athletes”, sleep is a huge part of the athlete's recovery process. Athletes that do not get enough sleep may lose endurance and possibly even a change in hormone levels, which may lead to higher stress and less human growth hormones (HGH), which helps tissue repair.
Football season begins at the hottest time of the year. Coaches want to push their players towards success, but sometimes they push too hard. Be sure to hydrate before, during, and after football practices and games. Heat-related illnesses are very preventable, but they are still on the rise. Especially around July and August. Symptoms of Heat Illness include Chills, cramps, headaches, dizziness, dry mouth and dark-coloured urine.
Drink Plenty of Fluids
Hydration should begin before you even start. Drinking 16 ounces of water is recommended one hour before training, practice, or a game. Continue with 4-8 ounces of fluid every 15-20 minutes as long as play continues.
When football is played right, it is actually a very controlled environment. When players use the techniques and habits developed in practice the game is relatively safe. One of the most necessary procedures is how to properly tackle.
Use Proper Technique
While it may look like the defensive players recklessly throw their bodies toward offensive players, proper technique is crucial on both sides to prevent injuries. Adequate tackling is now called “heads up” tackling. In other words, never lower your head, but hit shoulder pads first and then wrap up with your arms.
Safety is No AccidentFootball is a game of full-contact by two opposing teams. Between the force applied from the defence and the resistance given by the offence, it is easy to see how there are so many injuries on the football field. It will never be a game without injuries, but follow these eight steps and players and coaches will prevent many injuries from occurring.
Being proactive and preventative may be saving a kid’s life or at least prevent a reoccurring injury later on in life.