Being strategic with injury prevention and management
The basic principle of injury prevention and management
First, do no HARM – the acronym for not making an injury worse!
Any injury can be made worse by doing them HARM - especially during the 48 hours after it has occurred.
HEAT (including saunas and spas) increases bleeding and swelling
ALCOHOL increases bleeding and swelling (as it is a vasodilator).
RUNNING or exercising too soon may hinder the healing process, not allowing the injury to heal.
MASSAGE or enthusiastic stretching increases bleeding and delays healing.
Key factors to avoid injury
- Adhere to the rules
- Proper coaching to develop skills
- Be mentally and physically prepared
- Warm-up before and after exercise may reduce the likelihood of injury to muscles and ligaments. There is very little evidence supporting stretching: it is a personal thing.http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20120724-you-must-stretch-before-exercise See this article for different countries’ beliefs about stretching.
- Be fit and aerobically conditioned. A large number of muscle/tendon injuries occur when players are tired or unfit.
- Ensure you have the appropriate fitness program or technique for a particular exercise or sport. Poor technique can lead to injuries, especially in the more active or contact sports.
- Consider age. As the body ages our muscles become less flexible. As a result, muscle and tendon tears, and problems with joints and the spine become more common.
- Equipment: ensure that correct protective and supportive equipment is available and used.
- Environmental factors such as bumpy, hard and uneven surfaces often cause injuries, particularly to the ankle.
- Further problems include:
- Equipment left lying around the training area or in the change rooms causing players to trip and fall.
- Spectators being too close to the sidelines. This interference can cause injuries if players fall into them or are forced to avoid them.
- Training in hot/humid conditions. This climate can cause dehydration.
- Team and opposition team members who do not adhere to the rules.
- Only return to activity and competition when the injury is healed. Returning too early may not allow full recovery, so re-injury is highly likely.
Remember the following guidelines
- Learn basic First Aid for the different kinds of injuries related to your activities.
- Correct management of an injury can significantly reduce recovery time.
- The first 48 hours are vital in the effective management of any injury.
- The body has the ability to heal itself provided it is given the opportunity to do so. This means it is important not to return to the activity until an injury has healed satisfactorily.
- Medical attention may be required.
Have a good step ladder in your home and workplace . Always use it.
Use a trolley for transporting large or heavy items.
Wear covered shoes with non-slip soles when mowing the lawn, moving heavy items and other dangerous activities.
Ask for assistance when moving furniture or ask for a removalist to assist.
Be a model of safety as an example for your family.
Physical activity is important for good health. Participating in sport and other recreational activities promotes social and emotional, as well as physical health. Unfortunately, sometimes we are injured when playing sport or just being active. Accidents happen, but some injuries can be avoided if we take measures to prevent them.
Exercise does not cause arthritis. Regular exercise serves to keep joints healthy rather than wear them out. The exception to this fact is high impact sports on a hard surface (like netball and basketball), that can lead to excessive wear and tear to the knee joints, especially over time. It is usually the poor management of sporting injuries that is a major concern in later life.
Acute injuries such as a dislocation, torn cartilage or a fractured bone (in or near a joint), will increase the risk of osteoarthritis, later affecting that joint. This result is due to the joint surface being disrupted, hence, it heals slightly irregularly.
Learning first aid is a very sensible approach to managing injury.
St John Ambulance conducts basic to advanced courses.
Having a suitably stocked emergency kit is also a must.
Teach children what to do if they or someone near them is injured.Your sporting club might consider conducting courses for families.
At some high schools, there is an opportunity for students to complete an accredited First Aid Course.
Rules regarding Skateboards, rollerblades and rollerskates
PosterWork to prevent injury
Some useful websites
This site is a Sports Medicine Australia injury prevention website that has many fact sheets that may be of use for more detailed information.