Your body is your number one tool and asset as an athlete, so it’s important it’s treated with great care.
Every athlete will, at one point in his or her career, be faced with an injury, no matter the sport they practise. So, to protect your body, it’s really important you follow the guidelines in order to prevent injuries and properly recover from them. Read on for must-know information on injury prevention…
Did you know…
… there are three stages of injury prevention?
- The first stage is primary prevention, or avoiding an accident. The second stage is identifying a problem so that you can begin treatment as soon as possible and avoid worsening the complaint. The third stage is good rehabilitation after an accident, to prevent it from happening again.
… that any accident should be assessed and treated by a doctor?
- Never underestimate the importance of an accident or injury. Even if the injury is minor, it is essential that you get a diagnosis and establish what treatment is needed. You’ll also have to learn to be patient. If you try to return too quickly, the consequences could be more serious. Sometimes it’s better to miss a competition, even a big one, in order to come back stronger. Watch Tiana Penitani’s story.
… there are different types of injuries?
- There are chronic injuries (a stress fracture, for example) or acute injuries (a torn ligament). It is possible to damage a bone (fracture or stress fracture), cartilage (fracture or arthritis), a ligament (sprain, tear or inflammation), a muscle (tear, cramp or fibrosis), a tendon (tear or tendinopathy), a nerve (elongated or crushed nerve) or the skin (laceration or infection).
… to obtain the right treatment, it is important to determine the causes of the injury?
- To do this you need to talk to your entourage, your coaches, your training partners or anyone else who can help you understand how the injury happened. Don’t forget to consider the weather conditions, equipment, your level of fitness and your environment, as these can have an impact on your health.
… there are several prevention techniques to avoid injuries?
- Warming up, taping or bracing, safety equipment (helmets, protectors, etc.), the right training, good recovery, a good diet and proper hydration are all factors in helping to reduce the risk of injuries. Take time to identify your own needs and don’t neglect any of these aspects, especially sleep and recovery.
… that properly warming up your muscles helps to prevent injuries?
- A good warm-up helps to increase the flow of blood to your muscles, increase cell metabolism and nerve impulses, and reduce muscle tension.
… that in the event of a slight injury or returning to sport after an injury, taping can help prevent a new injury?
- Braces and tapes may help an athlete to avoid aggravating an injury or suffering a new injury before regaining their full mobility and strength.
… that protective and safety equipment is vital to prevent injuries?
- Any concussion, even slight, can cause huge damage to the brain in the short and long term. Some speed sports, impacts or jumps require equipment (helmet, back protection, mouth guards) to protect you from major impacts. Never underestimate the importance of this equipment. Being an expert in your sport doesn’t mean that you can do without it.
… that proper management of training and recovery time is crucial for avoiding injuries?
- Finding a balance between training sessions and rest periods is essential for an athlete’s well-being and to avoid injuries. Overtraining can lead to stress fractures or accidents. Sometimes just relax, take your time and confide in your coach.
… that a good diet can help avoid certain injuries?
- Here is one of many examples: a lack of protein can cause tissue and muscle fragility. So make sure you have a healthy and balanced diet.
In all cases, proper muscle strengthening is essential for avoiding injuries. To find out how to best prepare for your sport and how to strengthen the critical parts of your body to prevent injuries, download this app free of charge:
You will find exercises designed specially by experts to avoid the most common injuries in your sport.
Athlete Learning Gateway: If you want to find out more about this topic, check out the How to Avoid Injury and Illness online course via the IOC’s Athlete Learning Gateway.