Sports Injuries Large
When it comes to working out and preparing for their sport, some athletes make the mistake of focusing on one part of their body, often putting more emphasis on their legs or their arms. According to Oliver, if athletes want to make sure they play their best and stay healthy for the entire season, overall fitness and total body conditioning are musts.
Oliver pointed to balance as a basic skill needed for safe play of any sport. “In younger athletes developing postural control and being able to balance is very important,” she said. “In most sports, you come down on one foot some. If you can’t control your center of gravity, you will fall or pop your knee out of place or incur some other kind of injury.” Her research suggests that core stability plays a huge role in noncontact knee injuries.
That’s why she recommends all athletes maintain a strong core, what she terms the “lumbopelvic-hip complex.” “When you are working your stomach, back, glutes and everything that supports your pelvis, that helps keep it stable, helps with balance and can help prevent injury.” The musculature that controls the core is critical for trunk stabilization and efficient movement of the upper and lower extremities.”
And Oliver stressed that a strong core is not just strong abdominal muscles. “We often forget about the glutes, but they and the other muscles in the lumbopelvic-hip complex are just as important,” she explains.
To achieve a strong core, Oliver advises athletes do plank and side plank exercises that are held for 20 to 30 seconds several times a day. “That will make a big difference,” she explains.
“Athletes should be drinking plenty of water all day long every day.”
School-year sports begin with football, and down here even when autumn has officially arrived, it is still dangerously hot for athletes practicing outside. Oliver offered this advice when it comes to safely surviving the heat.
“Sometimes kids think they are weak if they need to get water at practice, but what they need to understand is for them to be at their best, their body must stay hydrated,” she explains. “It’s not weakness to take a water break; it’s smart.”