5 Ways Football Players Can Protect Their Spines From Injury
Category: Spinal Cord Injury | Author: Stefano Sinicropi
If you play high school football, two-a-days are probably underway. Football season is back, and that means players of all levels are putting on the pads and hitting the practice fields, but it also means we’ll undoubtedly see an uptick in injured players in our clinic. Back injuries are somewhat common on the football field, but there are things players and coaches can do to protect against them. We share five ways football players can prevent spine injuries in today’s blog.
Back injuries seem most common when a player awkwardly tackles an opponent or leads with their head. We understand that you can’t always square up an opponent and tackle with perfect form, but try not to lead with your head. If you launch to make a tackle, keep your eyes forward at the opponent. If you turn your head downwards and connect with the other person’s body, your spine will absorb that full force, which can lead to fractures or even paralysis.
Help your body get prepared for the rigors of the season by working out during the offseason. Don’t just focus on your arms and legs, because your core is key for supporting your spine and all the soft tissues in the area. Failing to strengthen these areas can lead to back muscle strains and sprains.
Speaking of helping your body get ready for physical activity, always be sure you go through a thorough stretching routine before practice and games. There are a number of muscles, ligaments and joints that have to work fluidly to help you move around the field, and if they aren’t prepared for certain actions, tears and strains can occur.
If you suffer an injury, be sure to let your coaches know and take yourself out of the game for a little bit. Trying to play through an injury or returning too quickly after an injury are easy ways to make a spine problem worse. Just take a look at the JJ Watt case we wrote about last year. Odds are you’ll develop some bumps and bruises throughout practice or a game, but if you’re injured, do what’s best for your spine and take yourself out.
See A Doctor
If you are dealing with back pain, or you simply want to learn about more ways to protect your spine during the football season, reach out to an experienced back specialist. Dr. Sinicropi can help diagnose your back pain or walk you through some conditioning exercises so your spine is in the best shape heading into the season. Also, feel free to reach out to the team doctor or trainer for more tips on how to prevent back problems throughout the year.