An athletic trainer’s job is to prevent, diagnose, and treat all types of injuries that occur during sporting events. Although trainers help prevent athletic injuries, the athletes need to do their part to help keep themselves healthy and free of injuries. Some of the things players can do to prevent injuries are to stay hydrated, eat a good meal prior to the game, and stretch and warm-up properly before the game.
Hydration is very important for anyone who plays a sport. Staying hydrated helps keep your body temperature around its normal level. If a player does not drink plenty of water during their event, it could cause the player to get dehydrated and become light-headed and dizzy. Dehydration is caused when a person loses more fluids than they drink. The human body cannot store water, which is why we must constantly supply ourselves with it. Another reason to stay hydrated is to prevent muscle cramps. Shane, my school’s athletic trainer said,” One of the most common injuries I see are muscle cramps.” Muscle cramps are so common because players are simply not drinking enough water before, during, and after their games. Water helps lubricate and prepare a player’s joints and muscles for exercise. When a player does not drink enough water the tension in his or her muscles and joints could build up and cause a cramp. Shane, my school’s athletic trainer said,” One of the most common injuries I see are muscle cramps.”
In addition to staying hydrated, players also need to eat a good meal before a sporting event. Players need to eat a meal that has plenty of carbs, so they will have plenty of energy throughout the game. Which means you should not eat a Big Mac or French fries from McDonalds. Greasy foods could cause a player to have stomach cramps or nausea if eaten right before a game. Muscles strive off carbohydrates, so a meal packed with those and a moderate amount of protein should help improve a player’s performance in their sport. If you are planning on eating a large meal before the game, it is recommended to eat it three to four hours before the game. If a player does not eat prior to their game, it could cause them to feel fatigued or sluggish and it could also cause muscle cramps. To avoid fatigue and muscle cramps a player needs to eat a nutritious meal with plenty of carbohydrates, along with some protein. If a player does not have enough time to eat a good meal before a game, he or she should at least eat a banana or another food that is high in potassium. Foods that are rich in potassium help with the body’s muscular functions.
Lastly, stretching and warming-up before a game play a key role in preventing injuries. Stretching will help improve your performance, since it releases the tension built up in your muscles. All muscles in the body are connected. Not stretching will increase the tension on the muscles, which will cause them to pull on joints. The pain that comes from this is known as a muscle cramp. It does not take a long time to properly stretch. Before every soccer game I play my team and I jog half the football field, do our static stretches, and then we do our dynamic stretches. It usually only takes us about ten to fifteen minutes to get our stretches done. After my team has finished stretching, we do a few shooting drills to help warm our legs up. This helps the muscles in our legs to start loosening up more and it help prepare them for the constant running and kicking involved in the sport.
Hydration, eating healthy, and stretching all help prevent one major injury, muscle cramps. The effects of not properly doing the three things I stated all lead to muscle cramps and several other types of injuries. These injuries, if severe enough, can take out a player for days, weeks, or it might possibly cost them their season. If players do not start properly taking care of themselves to help prevent these injuries, not only will they suffer, but their whole team will. During my interview with Shane, he said,” One of the hardest things about being an athletic trainer is having to tell someone that their season is over due to their injury.” Athletic trainers only want to see players succeed, so when a player gets injured it’s all hands-on deck to get them back on their feet.