There are 3 key components to injury, understanding each component will help you better reduce your risk of injury or the injury risk of your athletes.
Previous injury is the number one cause of a subsequent injury. You might hear this and think, “well duh”, but the important thing to understand here is that the subsequent injury IS NOT necessarily the same as the initial injury. There are various reasons we see this happen, whether it be because of a weakness caused by muscle attrition and improper rehabilitation, overuse injuries due to overcompensating for the initial injury or, injuries due to significant imbalance where the weak side is below the appropriate threshold.
As you can see, there is a pattern to subsequent injuries, and that is the lack of proper rehabilitation. Unfortunately, an athlete can be pain free, look and feel strong, however, still not be ready to return to sport. It is important to understand return to play protocols and have the tools and resources to ensure you or your athletes are rehabilitated fully before returning to sport.
It is often hard as a coach, and as an athlete to make the choice to take a step away from practice and fix an injury. It can take time, and it can be frustrating, however, at the end of the day it is likely that one injury could lead to more. We all need to protect the health and safety of our athletes and learn when it's time to take a step back for the best interest of the athlete, their team, and wellbeing of the athletes future body. We only get one.
We are all unique, and that even goes as far as how likely it is that we get injured. It can do with our bone density, the amount of strain our individual bodies can handle, our predisposition to injury based on any number of things.
The important note here is not how we are all genetically different but the fact that we ARE all genetically different and it is important as a coach to understand that and coach the individual. If one of your athletes seems to always be injured, it is quite possible, their bodies simply cannot handle the same amount of stress as the other athletes.
It is important to coach each individual athlete, as it is the individuals that make up the team.
Cheer District is based on the fact that if we train our athletes properly, and condition their fitness levels appropriately to the age and level of competition, we can reduce their risk of injury.
There are various components of “fitness levels”, strength, power, stamina, balance, etc. If we are not training appropriately, the body will not be able to handle the physical and mental rigors of cheerleading.
For example; if you or an athlete is performing a double base extension as a base, and they do not have the STRENGTH and POWER to explode through their legs, drive with their arms and brace their core, instead they muscle it up using their back, slowly pushing it up losing all technique and form, they are not only going to be grooving suboptimal motor patterns, but they are going to be increasing their risk of injury. Additionally, like we have discussed in many other posts, if the athletes are generating high levels of fatigue due to low fitness levels, they are again increasing their risk of injury.
In conclusion, if we can ensure athletes address an injury when it happens and rehab properly, coach the individual and understand everyone genetics are different, as well as put a focus on training the overall fitness levels of the athletes to match the skills being performed at their age and level, we can drastically reduce their risk of injury.
Got questions for Dr. Scott? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we would be more than happy to help you find the answer!
Injury prevention is key to not only the current success of our athletes, but their future selves. We only get one body. Let’s do what we can to protect and strengthen, without compromising its future.