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When we hear of the word athlete, only one thing usually comes to our mind – sports! While many of us love playing sports, athletes, whether amateurs or professionals are on a different level. Not only do they have an extreme passion for what they do, but they also have the physical strength, endurance and psychological characteristics that make them qualify to be a competitor in their field.
Being a sportsperson is good, but it undeniably comes with the risk of getting hurt. For these athletes, no matter how prepared their bodies are and how well they play their chosen sport, accidents do happen. While athletes are careful and are masters of their craft, all sports present risks of injury ranging from superficial bruises and sprains to severe ones like broken bones and concussions.
Athlete injuries are unpredictable, and many factors can contribute to them. It can be due to lack of conditioning, overtraining, trauma due to contact with other athletes, overuse or misuse of a body part. These reasons and more are potential risk factors of athlete injury, and these inevitable circumstances often lead to situations that can cause minor to significant health problems.
How To Prevent Sports Injuries
Take note that there are things that you can do to help you prevent sports injuries. Here are some:
- Always warm-up prior to the game and cool down after.
- Avoid participating when you’re injured.
- Maintain good muscle strength and flexibility.
- Practice stability training, including balance exercises.
- Wear protective gear like protective pads and helmets.
- Know the rules of the game.
- Watch out for uneven surfaces when walking or running.
- Be mindful of other players.
- Listen to your coach during a game.
Common Athletic Injuries
There are various kinds of sports injuries out there resulting from different sports and activities. Here are the most common ones that are seen in many sports players:
- Ankle sprain. This kind of injury is the most common one that can happen to anyone, especially to athletes in constant movement during practices and competitions. This occurs when you twist, roll, or turn your ankle in the wrong direction creating an injury into your ligaments. These tough bands of tissues are responsible for holding the bones in your ankle and help stabilize your joints, so when they stretch beyond their limit and move out of their normal position, it results in a sprain. This injury is characterized by pain, tenderness, swelling, bruising, and restriction of movement. An ankle sprain can be managed by rest and other home remedies if it is not severe. In rare cases, surgery and rehabilitation are needed.
- Groin strain. This condition is common amongst professional and recreational athletes. This occurs due to stress put on the muscles causing an overstretch or tearing of the inner thigh or front of the hip. This injury is characterized by pain that can be felt anywhere from the hip to the knee and difficulty walking or moving the leg away from or toward the body. You can manage groin strains with rest as it usually heals on its own.
- Hamstring strain. Also referred to as pulled hamstring is a common injury that happens when muscles at the back of your thigh get stretched too far and start to tear. This can be classified into three: pull or strain of the muscle fibres, partial tear, or complete tear of the muscle. Athletes who suffer from this injury can feel mild pain which usually recovers in a short period, or they can feel severe pain that may require surgery.
- ACL tear. This kind of injury is most commonly seen in athletes who play sports that involve sudden stops or changes in direction like soccer, basketball, football and downhill skiing. This injury happens when your anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) helps connect your femur to your tibia tears. This is often characterized by severe pain, rapid swelling, and loss of range of motion. Depending on the severity of the injury, it can be managed with rehabilitation and rest or, in severe cases, may require surgery to replace the torn ligaments.
Effective Supplements for Athletes
Athletes need to maintain their physique in top condition and support their overall wellness. While inevitable injuries can be managed with medical treatments and pharmaceutical preparations, many athletes are also using these supplements to help them with recovery, boost their immunity and improve their overall well-being.
- Ashwagandha – Known as one of the most effective herbs in Indian alternative medicine, the Ayurvedic practice, ashwagandha is said to have many health benefits. This small shrub is often powdered and mixed in drinks or taken as capsules. This supplement may help athletes as it may reduce stress, improve energy levels and concentration. Furthermore, due to its withanolides, ashwagandha is said to have anti-inflammatory properties that are backed by several scientific studies.
- CBD (Cannabidiol) – Commonly known as CBD, this hemp plant derivative has become popular due to the number of possible therapeutic benefits that it can provide without the psychoactive and intoxicating effects. CBD can be found in many forms, including CBD oil, CBD gummies, and other edibles, including CBD drinks, capsules, balms, to name a few. Many people, including athletes, use CBD oil for pain and inflammation. In addition to this, CBD also may aid in stress and anxiety reduction, improved sleep quality, etc.
- Holy Basil – Also known as Tulsi, this herb is not similar to the basil that is commonly used in cooking. This adaptogen is also one of the herbs used in Ayurveda which is said to have antidepressant and anti-anxiety properties. It is said that Holy basil may help athletes by improving focus, energy, boost their immune system and fights inflammation.