Warm weather is right around the corner and athletes of all ages will be out in force tearing it up on the athletic fields playing the games they love! Injury prevention during the seasonal sports transition is key. It is important to take care of your body and follow certain precautions as athletes transition from winter to spring sports. This is especially important for the young athletes. Outdoor elements such as soggy, muddy field conditions or bad weather, can negatively affect young athletes. Many times young athletes don’t have as much opportunity to train in an environment similar to which they will be playing in during their season. This can greatly increase the risk of athletic injury.
Below is a list of suggestions to help athletes adjust and prepare for the transition from indoor to outside venues and prevent injuries in the process!
All outdoor and field sport athletes should know:
- Stretching is extremely important in all sports. Typically, you should hold stretches for 30 seconds! Do some 20 – 30 yard runs, starting out slower and ending up at full speed to loosen the muscles up.
- Make sure your cleats are “broken in.” W e highly recommend that the young athlete begin wearing cleats outside on the field surface which they will be playing before the season starts. This will help ensure the cleats fit well and feel comfortable on the playing surface during practice and games.
- Arrive to the field early on game day and allow your body to adjust to the outside temperature.
- If you are able to arrive early, take a few minutes to walk the field to assess for soft or uneven spots in the field. If it has rained, scout the field for standing water puddles. This is especially important if you haven’t ever practiced or played on the field.
- Keep your muscles warm as long as possible before the game. Keep your warm-up gear on til the last second. You can also wear thermal type clothing like Under Armour under your uniform if you are playing in cold temperatures.
- Do not let muscles get cool during the game. If you are not playing, stand and keep moving as much as possible.
Spring sports are exciting for the athletes and for all the spectators! We want to help you make sure you stay healthy so you can enjoy them from the field!
About Dr. Brandon Mines
Brandon Mines, MD, is an assistant professor of orthopaedics. Dr. Mines started practicing at Emory in 2005 after completing his Sports Medicine Fellowship at University of California – Los Angeles. Dr. Mines is board certified in both family practice and sports medicine. He has focused his clinical interest on sports injuries and conditions of the shoulder, elbow, wrist/hand, knee, foot and ankle. He is head team physician for the Women’s National Basketball Association’s (WNBA) Atlanta Dream.
Dr. Mines is a rotational physician for United States soccer teams and a consulting physician for the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons along with various local high schools, colleges, and community club teams. He enjoys giving talks and lectures regarding the prevention of sports injuries. In fact, as an active member of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine and the American Society for Sports Medicine, Dr. Mines has attended and presented at various national conferences. Through the years, he has helped all levels of athletes return to the top of their game.