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Avoiding Sports Injuries in Your Home Backyard

By on Jun 5, 2018

The health benefits of playing sports are undeniable, but unfortunately, so is the potential for injury. When casually playing sports at home, people often aren't as cautious as they would be if playing with a team or in a competition. As a result, their risk of injury can be greater. For that reason, it's important that people take a proactive approach to preventing sports-related injuries.

Consuming a healthy and balanced diet is the first step in preventing injuries, as it ensures that you are getting important vitamins and nutrients that will help your body stay strong. Calcium, protein, and vitamin D are particularly important, as they help reduce the risk of fractures and breaks by strengthening one's bones. People who participate in sports benefit from a diet that provides antioxidants, which they can get by eating plenty of brightly colored fruits and vegetables such as blueberries. Getting enough vitamin C is also necessary. Not only is it an antioxidant, but it also helps with the production of collagen, which contributes to bone formation and helps strengthen muscles and improve their flexibility. Including foods with zinc, such as lentils, brown rice, and lean meat, can help with healing in the event that an injury does occur. The regular consumption of water is necessary to maintain proper hydration, which is crucial to keeping joints and muscles lubricated. Additionally, water helps to regulate body temperature and deliver nutrients to soft tissues. In addition to eating the right foods, people should always warm up and stretch before starting any vigorous activities, as this can prevent tears and other muscle injuries.

Players often suffer injuries from falls, impacts from other players or objects, and overexertion, and some of these injuries may even land players in the hospital. Certain sports pose a higher risk of accidents and injuries than others, and unfortunately, many of the most dangerous sports tend to be the most popular, such as basketball, football, and baseball. Volleyball, soccer, skateboarding, and even cheerleading are also some of the most likely activities to lead to injuries.

To improve one's chances of recovery, it's important that people know what to do in the event that a sports injury does occur. Most common injuries, such as contusions, sprains, and strains, are mild or moderate in severity. These are typically treated at home but should be closely observed for changes such as increased pain or swelling.

To treat these common injuries, people may use an over-the-counter pain medication and follow a method that's known as PRICE. PRICE is an acronym for protection, rest, ice, compression, and elevation. First, protect the injured area so that no further damage is done. The injured individual's activities should be restricted while they rest and allow the injury to heal. Applying ice helps to reduce inflammation. It should be applied to a common injury immediately and then reapplied for approximately 20 minutes every two hours for the next two days. Compression using an elastic or compression bandage can help provide support and help reduce mild swelling. And raising the injured area above the heart will also help reduce swelling and pain.

Not all injuries can or should be treated at home using PRICE, however. If a person with a common injury has worsening pain, pain that cannot be controlled by over-the-counter pain medicine, or increased swelling, contact a physician or go to an urgent care facility or a nearby emergency room. If the injured individual has uncontrollable bleeding, an obvious broken bone, joint deformity, irregular or difficulty breathing, or unconsciousness, immediate care is required and one should call 911 as quickly as possible.

In contact sports such as football, head injuries aren't uncommon. Anytime someone playing a sport injures their head, they should be seen by a medical professional. Often, when a person has a forceful impact to their head from a ball or hitting the ground, they develop a head injury called a concussion. A concussion occurs when the impact causes the brain to move suddenly inside the skull, which results in swelling. Symptoms of a serious concussion include a strong headache, vomiting, double vision, behavioral changes, loss of consciousness, or drowsiness. These symptoms may indicate bleeding in the brain, and emergency services should be contacted immediately. Other more mild symptoms may include a headache, dizziness, difficulty concentrating and remembering, increased emotions, and changes in sleep. Often, people do not show any signs of a concussion and act as they would under normal circumstances. But even without obvious symptoms, after a head injury, one should see a doctor within a day or two.

The treatment for a concussion typically involves rest and no physical or mental exertion for two weeks or longer. In the early stages of recovery, this means no heavy concentration, prolonged computer use, classwork, video games, or even texting, in order to allow the brain to rest. A person is only able to start playing sports again after all symptoms have resolved and medical clearance from their doctor has been given. At that time, they can only begin gradually, over a period of a week or longer, paying close attention to the return of any symptoms.

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