Athletes and injuries go hand-in-hand, but the certified athletic trainers at PT Solutions insist that injury prevention is the best way to ensure athletes stay at the top of their game.
The question is: What is the best way to prevent an injury on the field?
On the topic of injury prevention, several of PT Solutions’ certified athletic trainers were in agreement that training, bracing, and management of minor injuries are the most successful preventative methods.
“Training involves education and communication,” explains athletic trainer, Brooke Brummeler. “It is vital for everyone to know proper techniques and safe body movements in their sport. The warm-up is a very important component of effective injury prevention—this short time is used to get blood flowing to the muscles, so the muscles are ready for an intense practice.”
PT Solutions’ Head Athletic Trainer, Leah Gates, describes the correlation between athletic training and injury prevention: “How do you prevent a knee injury? You train like you have a knee injury–take soccer, for example,” Gates describes, “Muscle conditioning makes for a strong athlete. A soccer player needs solid quadriceps and tough gluteal muscles before they even hit the field. So, all the things you want to increase are: your strength, power, endurance, and speed.”
Athletic trainer Derek Sobczak echoes Gates’ concern with muscle conditioning, emphasizing proper technique in training: “To use proper technique for anything will reduce the chance of injury. In football, if you tackle incorrectly, your risk of injury increases; this sentiment also holds true with lifting in the weight room, where I see a lot of injuries.”
In the athletic world, prophylactic bracing is a popular practice amongst trainers and coaches to thwart further damage to the athlete. When prompted on the role of prophylactic bracing and taping in regards to injury prevention, Gates acknowledges that both methods have their respective purpose, but muscle conditioning is key to reducing the risk of injury.
Alternatively, Sobczak stresses the importance of bracing and taping, due to the brace’s role in supporting a joint not strong enough to protect itself: “I will brace or tape a weak ankle because of past injuries, and it does provide support for a period of time. I believe braces are better than taping, because they can be re-tightened and reused over and over.”
Manage Smaller Injuries
Management of smaller injuries minimizes the risk of the minor injury turning into a serious injury: “If a player is complaining that their hamstring is tight and hurting when they run, I will take them off of the field to manage the injury with a combination of ice and Ibuprofen.” Sobczak continues, “Mild stretching is incorporated after a few days, and the athlete’s intensity of practice is monitored. These precautions need to be taken to help prevent the athlete from trying to perform through the injury and possibly end up with a muscle tear that will hold them out of the sport for a significant amount of time.”
About PT Solutions:
PT Solutions is a physical therapist-owned, private practice with locations in Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, Illinois, Tennessee, and Florida. Our therapists strive to serve their clients using research-driven treatments to provide relief and restoration of their normal life.
Our practice brings therapists together to grow and develop owners that have industry-leading experience. A commitment to patient and therapist advancement with support of technical and professional skill drives our focus, exceeding client expectations. Our professional staff includes physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, and certified athletic trainers.