Sports Injury Prevention Programs
Sports injuries are often considered inevitable when you are an athlete. Knee and ankle injuries are by far the most common. Severe injuries can take months, or even years for full recovery. This can have a profound psychological effect and decrease a patient’s quality of life. Sport injury prevention programs can reduce the number of injuries as well as the severity of injuries. A good sports injury prevention program will:
- Determine what injuries are most common in a particular sport
- Identifying the risk factors for injury in that population of athletes
- Develop the injury prevention program
- Measure how successful the program was to prevent that injury from occurring
External factors that increase risk of injury can be addressed by modification of rules to increase safety, and by using appropriate equipment.
“Neuromuscular Exercise Interventions” are training strategies that focus on an athlete’s internal risk factors such as strength, endurance, balance, and agility (coordination, cutting and landing techniques). These programs need to be feasible and fit in a real world sporting context (e.g. as part of the warm-up routine and with no added equipment required).
Sources say the five most common sports injuries are:
- Ankle sprains, especially in male basketball players
- Groin strain, especially in professional ice hockey players
- Pulled hamstrings, frequently in football and soccer players
- Shin splints, especially in runners
- ACL Tears, especially in adolescent female soccer players
As an example, ACL injury prevention is a hot topic in sports medicine. Research has shown that most ACL injuries are non-contact injuries; they occur as a result of cutting or pivoting maneuvers – when an athlete plants a foot and suddenly shifts direction. They also occur as a result of sudden deceleration when the athlete suddenly slows down or stops from running. Differences in anatomy, and differences in muscle activation patterns have been shown to increase the risk of ACL injury for teenage female soccer players.
There have been many studies done over the years to determine the best program for preventing ACL tears. The right “neuromuscular exercise interventions” have been shown to improve muscle activation patterns and significantly decrease the number of ACL tears in sports.
By doing a thorough evaluation, I can determine what injury you are most at risk for, and design an effective injury program customized to you. Please contact me today.