NFL Injury Prevention (Guest Post courtesy of John O’Connor)

Introduction by Queenie
Now that I’m a parent, I’m very much aware and more attentive than ever of news stories involving child safety, especially cases where incidents could have been prevented. I am also very supportive of young ones having an active lifestyle, since I wasn’t encouraged when I was growing up and trying to catch up on all those years of not exercising is really tough in your late twenties! An amateur runner, rock climber and road cyclist myself, with my husband being a marathoner and a half-Ironman, we are both excited for our little girl to participate in sports when she is ready. However, we want to make sure all safety precautions are taken, because accidents can happen at any time, and as parents I believe it is our responsibility to ensure we protect our children as best as we can. I was contacted by a fellow parent blogger who graciously offered to write an entry with insightful advice and information regarding injury prevention, specifically within the NFL. Please read John O’Connor’s article below and let us know your thoughts! You can then hop over to his site: bloggingwjohno.blogspot.com. Thanks!

NFL Injury Prevention: New Program Teaches Hearing Loss Awareness Sports are not only a great way for children to get outside and have fun with their friends but they also can teach them important parts of life such as teamwork, discipline and motivation.  For many, being involved in sports becomes a passion and it’s something that changes their lives.  Although sports are great, they also can be very dangerous if not played correctly. With contact sports, there are always risks, but the NFL has been steadily working to increase awareness and safety in all contact sports. The NFL has come a long way. With increased rules and regulations for player safety, they have allowed other contact sports to make similar changes. For instance, quarterbacks can’t be hit below the knee and other less defensive players also can’t be hit at certain times, such as when receivers are catching the ball or when kickers are punting. It’s important to realize the strides that the NFL had made to increase injury prevention and try to combat some of the injuries that are common in contact sports. In addition to rules and regulations, the NFL began a campaign called NFL Evolution, where it helps teach parents and kids who are involved with contact sports how to be more responsible and safe while playing. Among the injuries that players face, a few stand out as the most the most common. For one, knee injuries are common in contact sports and can severely limit a player’s ability to move and even get back in the game. Head injuries such as concussions are also common and have serious side effects. Other injuries like dehydration and heat stroke are just as important to recognize as well.

Knee Injuries

When something happens to a player’s knee, many physicians pray that it’s not the ACL or anterior cruciate ligament. This is the same ligament that holds most of the knee together, allowing you to rotate and move with versatility. If a player tears an ACL, it can spell trouble for his mobility in the game.  These are some specific tips that have helped contact sport players avoid knee injuries.

  • Strengthen your knees and do drills to increase your agility. It’s important that you protect your knee by building muscles in your legs but you also want to remain light on your feet while staying balanced.
  • Always stretch and warm up prior to participating in practice or a game.
  • Never head back into a game or training if you feel you have serious injured not only your knee but other body parts as well.

Head Injuries

Concussions occur due to a very serious hit or impact of some sort to the head.  Concussions cause dizziness, headaches, nausea and other serious injuries like memory loss or even hearing loss. It’s becoming a major issue around former NFL players who have lost their hearing because of concussions and head injuries. The NFL Players Association has partnered up with EarQ, which supplies hearing aids, in an effort to spread awareness about the correlation between concussions and hearing loss.  Here are a few tips on how to prevent concussions from occurring:

  • Learn the techniques of tackling, hitting and blocking to avoid injuries first. Never lead with your head into a tackle.
  • Wear headgear that is appropriately sized. You don’t want a helmet to go flying off in the middle of play. 
  • Always go to the doctor after a big hit to the head or if there are any warning signs that you may have suffered a concussion. 

Other Injuries

There are also other common injuries that have more to do with the elements around players, such as temperature and weather. During summer months when training camps are popular, kids can be out in the sun all day in temperatures over 100 degrees performing all types of drills. It’s important for coaches to realize that kids still need a break and shouldn’t be out in the sun during the middle of day. That can cause heat strokes. In addition, kids should have water at all times to stay hydrated before, after and during practice or games.

The NFL has taken strides to make injury prevention a key part of its focus. It’s important that parents also pick up that momentum and help their kids learn as well.

Hi my name is John O’Connor, I am a father, outdoorsman, sports enthusiast and passionate about living a healthy lifestyle.  Check out my new blog at bloggingwjohno.blogspot.com!

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Filed under Family, Guest Post, Parenthood, Sports

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