Staying safe on the courts: 11 helpful tips

There are many things you can do to make sure you have a safe, optimal sports experience.

By YONATAN KAPLAN
December 9, 2010 23:36
2 minute read.
Legs running

Running legs 311. (photo credit: Chicago Tribune/MCT)

 
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Sports help keep our bodies fit and allow us to feel good about ourselves.

However, all sports have a risk of injury. In general, the more contact in a sport, the greater the risk of injury. But there are many things you can do to make sure you have a safe, optimal sports experience.

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Here’s a list of tips to help avoid sports injuries.

• Avoid playing with a pre-existing illness or injury. If in doubt, consult a medical practitioner.

• Remove sharp or dangerous objects from the playing area.

• The training room, first aid area and changing rooms should be: clean, adequate size for the number of athletes using them, stocked adequately with soap, paper towels, garbage bins, brooms, disinfectants, and a first aid kit at all times.

• Wear the right gear. Players should wear appropriate and properly fitted protective equipment such as pads (neck, shoulder, elbow, chest, knee, and shin), helmets, mouthpieces, face guards, ankle guards, protective cups, and eyewear if necessary.



• Strengthen muscles. Conditioning exercises before games and during practice helps prepare the mind and body for exercise. It also increases body and muscle temperature as well as increases the blood and oxygen supply to the working muscles.

• Increase flexibility. Stretching exercises before and after games or practice will keep you limber.

• Take breaks. Rest periods during practice and games can reduce injuries and prevent heat illness.

• Play safe. Rules should be enforced.

• Stop the activity if you feel pain.

• Avoid heat injury. Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after exercise or play; decrease or stop practices or competitions during especially hot or humid periods; wear light, sun-protective clothing, a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.

• Maintain an adequate fitness level. Undertake conditioning and training exercises specific to physical demands of your sport.

This is the first in a series of informative articles relating to sports in general and specific sport-related injuries.

If you have any questions about the articles, you can email Yonatan at sportmed@zahav.net.il or call hin at (054) 463-9463.

Yonatan Kaplan, PT PhD (Candidate), is the Director of the Jerusalem Sports Medicine Institute at Hebrew University’s Lerner Sports Center.

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