What is Injury Prevention?
Injury prevention can be defined as measures aimed at preventing or reducing the severity of bodily injuries during recreational/sports-related activities. These preventive measures may include the use of protective devices and sports gear such as helmets, pads, and gloves, and doing adequate warm-up exercises prior to engaging in sports and recreational activities.
All sports inadvertently carry some risk of injury. However, the benefits of participating in sports outweigh its risks as it helps children and youth keep their bodies fit and healthy and improve their self-esteem.
Injuries can also occur indoors or outdoors while mowing a lawn, driving a car, walking across the street, or at work.
Causes of Injuries
Injuries most commonly occur during sports and exercise. These injuries may result from accidents, poor training practices, use of improper protective gear, lack of conditioning exercises, and insufficient warm-up and stretching exercises.
Common Types of Injuries
Some of the common types of injuries include:
- Cuts, scrapes, and scratches
- Electrical injuries
- Punctured skin
- Strains and sprains
- Tears and ruptures
- Overuse injury
How Can You Prevent Injuries?
Some of the measures that are recommended to prevent injuries include:
- Follow an exercise regimen to strengthen the muscles used in play.
- Gradually increase your exercise level and avoid overdoing the exercise.
- Make sure that you follow warm-up and cool-down exercises before and after a sports activity. Exercises will help to stretch the muscles, increase flexibility, and reduce soft tissue injuries.
- Ensure that you wear properly-fitted protective gear including comfortable, well-fitting athletic shoes, helmets, and pads before playing any sports activity, which helps to reduce the chances of injury.
- Maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet, which will nourish the muscles.
- Avoid playing when you are injured or tired.
- Ensure adequate hydration before, during, and after play to prevent fatigue, nausea, fainting, and dehydration.
- Take breaks during practice and games. This can prevent the risk of heat illness and reduce injuries.
- Ensure to follow the rules and regulations and techniques involved with the game you are participating in.
- Take time off at least 1 day per week from training for a specific sport to allow your body to recuperate.
- Ensure that you are physically fit to play the sport.
Encouraging your children to participate in sports and other physical activities keep them active and alert. Sports improve a child’s body growth and mental wellbeing. However, fear of injury during sports may result in the youth dropping out of sports activities which in turn has negative health implications such as overweight and obesity in children and youth. Injury prevention with the proper use of protective gear and preventive techniques helps in boosting children’s confidence to participate in sports, which is vital to promote a healthy lifestyle, proper growth and development, prevent chronic diseases, and reduce stress.