Kids playing soccer together.

Sports Injury Prevention  

With an average of 271 days of warm and summer-like conditions per year, Southwest Florida residents have the good fortune of spending most days outdoors. Generally, most residents, no matter their age, can participate in outdoor athletics such as golf, pickleball, tennis, football, baseball, soccer, etc. It is important to remember that regardless of performance levels or various age groups, elevated temperatures and injuries due to overuse can cause significant harm and even death. Educating players, coaches, young athletes, and parents is a serious “game-changer” in reducing injuries on and off the field.  

Safety tips to aid in keeping everyone free from unnecessary injuries or heat illnesses are:  

  • Get a physical before participating in physical activity. Physicians assess patients’ past and prior medical history focusing on identifying certain medical conditions that can pose a problem when coupled with physical activity.    
  • If possible, participate in various sports – This will help exercise and train different muscles/joints so that there is no constant strain on one body area. Overuse and pressure due to consistent and repetitive motions can cause injury due to overuse.  
  • Warm up before engaging in sport-related activities – Stretching helps to loosen muscles and joints, helping to avoid injuries. 
  • Allow for rest – Resting between games and taking time between seasonal sports allows the body to heal. Ensuring appropriate amounts of rest will also aid in reducing muscle fatigue and will help to decrease injuries. 
  • Use appropriate protective equipment – If a sport requires pads or helmets, have them fitted correctly. Protective equipment includes pads, mouthguards, helmets, eyewear, protective cups, etc. 
  • Hydration and nutrition – This is extremely important in decreasing physical injuries Eating a well-balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, and protein while ensuring hydrated increases energy and endurance and promotes muscle growth. Proper nutrition can help to repair injuries and prevent heat-related illnesses. Players, coaches, athletes, and parents should learn to identify signs of physical and heat-related conditions. Examples include heavy sweating, cold, pale, clammy skin, fast and weak pulse, nausea or vomiting, muscle cramps, unexplained tiredness or weakness, dizziness, and headaches.  

Whether on the rink, on the field, or down the court, all sports have risks that can increase injuries. Taking appropriate precautions can help reduce risks. 


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