Sports injury prevention strategies


Definition of injury

“Involuntary or intentional harm to the body resulting from acute exposure to thermal, mechanical, electrical, or chemical energy, or the absence of essential elements such as heat or oxygen.”

Causal factors of sports injuries:

intrinsic factors
body size
injury history
training level
Muscular strength/flexibility
skill level
psychological state
extrinsic factors
Type of activity
conditioning errors

What is injury prevention?

Injuries can be prevented by changing the environment, individual behavior, products, social norms, legislation, and government and institutional policies to reduce or eliminate risks and increase protective factors.

Primary and secondary prevention:

Primary prevention is the prevention of the appearance of lesions.
Secondary prevention is the prevention of recurrence of lesions.

There are a number of factors responsible for injury prevention. Is it so:

1. Warm-up, 2. Stretching, 3. Wraps and braces, 4. Protective gear, 5. Proper biomechanics, 6. Proper equipment, 7. Proper surfaces, 8. Proper training, 9. Proper recovery, 10. Psychology
11. Nutrition

1. Warm-up:
The literary meaning of warm-up is to raise the core body temperature. The warm-up is further classified into general and sport-specific warm-ups.

The benefits of warming up include:

1. Increased blood flow to the muscles
2. Reduced muscle viscosity causing smooth muscle contractions
3. Improvement of the mechanical efficiency of the muscle.
4. Favorable neuro-myo conductance
5. Favorable changes in muscle receptors that decrease the sensitivity of muscles to stretch.
6. Improved cardiovascular compatibility
7. Improved mental concentration for sports activities.

How warming up helps in injury prevention:

1. Increase preheat ROM
2. Decrease the stiffness of connective tissue; this further leads to higher forces and length of stretch required for a tear to occur.

2. Stretch:
The ability to move your joints smoothly through full ROM is an important component of good health.

The basic principles of stretching are:

1. Heat up before stretching
2. Stretch before and after exercise/sport
3. Stretch gently and slowly
4. Stretch to the point of tension but not to the point of pain

How Stretching Helps In Injury Prevention:

There is considerable research evidence to affirm;

Increased flexibility through stretching appears to result in a lower incidence of musculoskeletal injury, minimizing and alleviating muscle soreness. Increased stretching can improve athletic performance.

3. Curb and bracing:

Tapes and gussets are used to restrict unrestricted, potentially damaging movement and allow desired movement. There are two main indicators for the use of tapes and braces:

1. prevention- of the two procedures mentioned, curbing is used as a preventive measure for high-risk activities. For example, touch the ankle of basketball players.
2. Rehabilitation: the bandage is used as a protection mechanism during the healing and rehabilitation phase.

4. Protective equipment:

Protective gear protects various vital parts of the body from injury. Most importantly, protective gear should not interfere with sports activities.

5. Correct biomechanics:

Correct biomechanics is an important factor in achieving maximum movement efficiency and in injury prevention. Poor biomechanics can be due to static (anatomical) abnormalities or dynamic (functional) abnormalities.


Static anomalies: LLD, Genu valgum, pronated calcaneus

Dynamic abnormalities: running with excessive anterior pelvic tilt.

What happens when there is altered biomechanics?

Poor techniques are the result of improper biomechanics. This poor technique results not only in injury but also in reduced performance.

6. Suitable equipment:

Equipment can range from simple to complex.

An example of simple equipment is sports shoes.
Examples of complex equipment are; rackets, clubs, bicycles, motor vehicles, etc.

According to Khan & Brukner, the 3 main producers of injuries are: footwear, rackets and bicycles.

Parts of a sports shoe: heel counter, toe box, midsole.

Racquet parts: grip, shaft and racket head

Important parts of a bike from a sporty angle: saddle height, saddle position, handlebar mount position. Pedaling technique is one of the most important aspects where injuries can be prevented.

7. Suitable surface:

When walking and running, the body is subjected to highly repetitive and short-duration forces, increasing susceptibility to injury. Peak impact forces during walking, running, and jumping have been shown to approach 2-fold, 3-4-fold, 5-12-fold, respectively.

Surfaces alter the maximum force the body is subjected to during activity. Peak impact forces are much higher on hard surfaces than on soft ones. Therefore, softer surfaces reduce the chances of sports injuries.

8. Adequate training:

Training errors are the most common predisposing factors in the development of sports injuries.

Training is a constant balance between doing enough quality and quantity of work to maximize performance, but not so much that injury occurs.

The full explanation of training is beyond the scope of this discussion.

In a nutshell:

The principles of training are:

1. periodization
3. overload
4. individuality

The different training methods involve:

1. aerobic training or resistance training
2. anaerobic training or lactate training
3. strength and power training
4. flexibility training
5. speed and agility training
7. specific skills training
8. cross training

9. Proper recovery:

Proper recovery is essential if the full effect of training is to be obtained and injuries are to be prevented.

“Excess Reach” – Inadequate recovery leads to poor performance and associated symptoms, such as tiredness and lethargy, referred to as “Excess Reach”. If training is continued from this moment on, injuries may occur. However, athletes often respond to such symptoms with an increase in training, perceived as “unfitness.” This leads to what is called “overtraining syndrome.” Therefore, it is important that the coach carefully monitors the training program.

Proper recovery includes:

1. warm-ups
2. whirlpools and spas
3 massage
4. rest and sleep
5. psychological and nutritional counseling

10. Psychology and injury prevention:

Excessive excitement:
The detrimental effect of excessive psychological arousal is a well-recognized entity. Excessive psychological arousal predisposes the athlete to injury.

Excessive arousal leads to impaired muscle tension. This further leads to upsetting the fine balance between agonist and antagonist, which is the hallmark of a quality performance. Once this synergy between agonist and antagonist is lost; a modified technique is used instead of the natural technique. There is also “Loss of rhythm”. This factor predisposes to injury.
Excessive excitement also leads to loss of mental focus. Consequently, the feet and the body are not placed in the proper position on the sports field. Therefore, the player is placed in a biomechanically poor position to play return shots. This predisposes to injury.

Excessive arousal leads to a “narrow focus of attention”; therefore, he fails to read the work. This can result in them being easily tackled or hit from the “blindside”.

“White Line Fever”: This is another example of excessive excitement. Here the athlete loses all perception of danger when going out on the field. consequently, he places his body in positions vulnerable to injury.

Overexcited players enter a competition without proper nutrition. This further leads the individual to sports injuries.

Low arousal: less common variety. It occurs in test matches or at a lower level of competition.

The unexcited athlete shows the following:

1. Impaired reading of visual cues.
2. Slow decision making.
3. Do not take appropriate evasive measures.
4. Make technical mistakes.

These points mentioned above are responsible for sports injuries in underexcited athletes.

11. Nutrition and injury prevention:

1. Proper nutrition can indirectly lead to injury through its effect on the recovery process.
2. By continuous intense training; labile muscle proteins are channeled into glyco-neo-genesis to produce energy. Therefore, protein deficiency in the diet can lead to soft tissue damage in the muscles.
3. Inadequate hydration has an immediate and acute impact on athletic performance, especially exercise under thermal conditions.
4. Minerals like calcium have a very important role to play in the physiology of muscle contraction. The increase in exercise builds on the body’s calcium stores. Inadequate calcium intake weakens the bone and can lead to fractures. electrolyte balance; in addition, the internal environment is maintained with sodium and potassium. The deficiency of these minerals leads to serious metabolic disturbances. They can even cause death.
5. Low calorie diet can lead to decreased fat ratio to the point that women miss monthly period. This further leads to osteoporosis and fractures.

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