Football season is in full swing!! A backyard pickup game or a high school football game, football can be a rough sport, that can have potential for serious injuries. TOC- The Orthopaedic Center would like to share some tips on how to prevent spine injuries while you are playing football this season.
Train, Stretch and Warm-up
Playing football is an intense sport and involves the entire body. If you’re not physically prepared, you may suffer a back or neck injury. Strength training will improve your core muscles. Stretching will also increase the flexibility of your muscles and tendons, reducing injuries during practice or games. Also, remember to warm up for 20-30 minutes before any practice or game to ensure your body is prepared for the physical demands of football.
Maintain Your Gear
Football requires a lot of protective gear, including pads. As you prepare to gear up, make sure your gear is in good shape by inspecting your equipment. Inform your coach or the equipment manager if any of your gear is ripped, missing straps, or cracked so it can be replaced. Make sure your helmet fits properly, and the chin strap is positioned properly to prevent neck and head injuries. Always check your helmet for cracks if you take a big hit out on the field. Safety equipment is designed to help prevent serious injuries, so make it a habit to inspect it on a regular basis.
Use the Correct Tackling Technique
Always tackle with your head up and your opponent facing you, and never lead with the top of your helmet. Concussion, whiplash, and even spinal fractures can result from tackling your head down. Because of bad tackles, many players have suffered career-ending and debilitating injuries, so make sure you follow the rules and know how to tackle properly.
Don’t Play with Injuries
Football players are known for their toughness and ability to “play through injuries.” If you are injured, you should see a doctor or a trainer right away. This is especially true for neck and back injuries. A hit to the spine can result in paralysis, so don’t ignore neck or back pain; instead, see a doctor before returning to the field.
At TOC- The Orthopaedic Center, we love treating athletes. Their passion for the game shows in their commitment to their team each week. We admire these players, and we want them to be able to keep playing the game they love for a long time. That’s why we always advocate safety, not just for football players but for all athletes. If you’ve sustained an injury to your neck or back on the football field, schedule an appointment with one of the physicians at TOC. Good luck and be safe this football season!
TOC is pleased to provide its patients with Alabama’s largest group of sports medicine specialists. Seven of our providers have completed a fellowship in sports medicine, and an additional three providers have a keen interest in the field. In the North Alabama region, TOC works with more than 40 athletic trainers to provide treatment for athletes at 24 schools.