Dr. David Chao, orthopedic surgeon and former head team physician for the San Diego Chargers, has many years of experience working with collegiate and professional athletes.
OVER THE 20-PLUS YEARS OF EXPERIENCE, THEY HAVE SEEN MANY ATHLETES ENCOUNTER THE FOLLOWING INJURIES: ACL/MCL – SHOULDER – ANKLE/FOOT – WRIST – BACK STRAIN
While there are many ongoing changes to the sport to prevent injuries, due to the impact and wear and tear on the body, young athletes can put themselves in harm’s way if they don’t take the necessary precautions to prevent such pain.
CONTACT INJURIES ARE A LITTLE DIFFERENT
The key to injury prevention is to well prepare your body for the worst. You can only prepare your body so much. But if someone tackles you and you fall hard, the wrong way, you can do some damage to your body. Having the right equipment and support is key to prevent such injuries. If you’re able to mimic movement that may cause an injury from non-contact, like an ACL tear, the likely hood of the tear actually happening is slim because you’ve trained your muscles, joints and ligaments to move in that direction.
– Dr. Chao
PREPARE FOR INJURIES
Regardless of the position, each football player should mimic the movement they perform during game day so they are ready for all sorts of instances. The more specific an exercise is to the type of activity required by the sport, the more benefit it will be to the athlete. In other words practice what is required in the sport.
– Dwayne Treolo, Former head ATC for University of Louisville & DJO Global team sports manager
Treolo explains that wide receivers and defensive backs run a great deal. A certain amount of strength is required to have the stamina to compete for two to three hours. These positions don’t need the strength that a lineman requires to engage in contact every play. And by the same token, offensive linemen don’t need to run 40-yard dashes. All positions should concentrate on leg exercises, core strength and shoulder stabilization exercise. Agility and balance will come with the repetition of these exercises and practice
– Dwayne Treolo
With any program, it’s important to do a dynamic warm-up and cool down. Foam rolling will also help to keep the muscles and joints loose to prevent tightness and injury. Always speak with your coach or physician before beginning any new training program.