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Bright 1 Stuart Bright Ms.

Warren English 1102 U 3 May 2010 Injury Avoidance for Athletes There are many words to raise an emotion of negativity, and in the field of athletics, none reign higher than this injured. Whether the viewpoint is taken from the athletic trainer, the coach, the concerned friend or family member, or the stricken athlete, an injury is bound to be a setback for everyone. Yet not to be taken out of context, many injuries are simply inevitable and are the result of an unfortunate event. However, it is the responsibility of those immediately involved with athletic programs to be active and attentive in regards to an athletes safety. Even though it is essential for an athlete to undergo intense training to maintain a competitive edge, excessive conditioning often leaves the athlete subject to serious injury. Preventative measures such as knowledgeable coaching corps, cross training, and proper rest periods are required in order to ensure the safety of all athletes. After firsthand experience in athletics of both dealing with others and personal ignorance, the fundamental goal hereinafter is to fully comprehend the vitality and importance that must be place upon the task of risk management. It is a shame to say that a vast majority of athletes, along with many people in general for that matter, consider themselves to be bulletproof when it comes to their well being. But as for that notion, consider it rubbish. Dr. Edward H. Nessel, quoting from his article Keeping the Athlete Healthy, often begins his lectures by stating, If you all knew what was out there waiting to get you, you would all go hide in a cave until I told you what was in the cave (9). Seeing past the comedy in this statement and into the reality, a feeling should begin to arise that an athlete is participating in a potentially life altering event,

Bright 2 and that is something that should not be taken lightly by any standard. By now understanding the imperative nature to be given to an athletes safety, it is time to delve into the first and most crucial factor at hand coaches. A coach is often the first and sometimes the only line of aid offered in times of need for injury assistance. Horrifying to think about when considering that according to the Department of Allied Health Professionals team at the University of Central Lancashire, adolescent athletes are the most prevalent subjects of sports related injuries, and there is a substandard availability of first aid for both pre- and post-injury incidents. Youth Sports Injuries and Their Immediate Management: A Review, the article which analyzes 24 relevant documents regarding coaches knowledge of first aid for children with sports injuries, reveals some disturbing results. Rather than rephrasing the findings, here is what the article had to say in its entirety: The most obvious finding was that the level of care at practice sessions was much poorer than at matches. In all cases, it was the coaches (rather than physicians or athletic trainers) who were the most likely people to be responsible for providing first aid at training sessions. Many of the studies24-27, 32, 33 found that coaches were either unprepared, or lacked confidence to deal with injuries. However, due to the greater amount of time spent practicing and reluctance of athletes to wear protective gear in training sessions, the studies show that injuries occur as often in training as in competitive games. Thus, it is essential the coaches are adequately trained.29, 36 (173) In short, should a poorly trained, anxious coach attain the sole responsibility as the primary caregiver? Albeit that during the actual regulated sporting event, 89% of the schools surveyed in the 2004 Tonino & Bollier study reported paramedic assistance on hand. However, that same study also recorded that 98% of the time, practice sessions relied entirely on coaches for

Bright 3 emergency care (175). Even if these coaches held the minimal first aid qualifications, they displayed among the surveys that in the heat of the moment, they are likely to feel inadequate to serve the needs of the injured athlete. There are many glaring issues with this scenario, but luckily, there are also a few resolutions. Amid the chaos of reality when dealing with first aid sources available to youth during training, there are ways to drastically enhance the safety of the athletes. The first proposed method involves accreditation of recognition for including at least two members, including a coach, to have attended certified child protection courses. The idea, originating in the UK, has been officially named Clubmarking, and it builds trust in the organization that the mandatory health care will be direct and effective (176). Another means of improvement derives all the way back to the coaches training. This includes adequate preparation before taking responsibility for incoming coaches, altering teaching methods that are suited for sport specific training, and a renewal of knowledge process for current coaches who may have had stagnant periods during their tenure. Because again, what good is an unqualified coach in medical care knowledge due to lack of proper training to a fallen athlete? The final, most obvious method for solving the problem of how to provide better safety to athletes is to merely have a certified physician or athletic trainer in attendance at all times. If the reason for not having one of these two specialized caregivers is based on financial reasons, specifically an unwarranted cost in the schools opinion, then the management department should check their moral values at the sight of a maltreatment in first aid. It should be common sense to provide the same optimal health care during practices just as it is in game situations, but apparently it is not. Regardless of sport or athletic participation, cross training is a proven technique that allows the athlete to not only advance physically and mentally, but also to recover in those aspects as well. The concept is well defined and provided by Aaron M. Potts, a certified physical

Bright 4 therapist. In his article Cross Training, Potts suggests that an athlete never peaks throughout conditioning and greatly reduces the chance of injury by continually chang[ing] your exercise program to work both your muscular and your cardiovascular systems in a variety of ways, forcing your body to adapt to a new stimulus (Potts). This process encompasses the idea that by adding variations to the normal workout routine, the body is forced to adjust to meet the new energy demands. But according to some, the non specificity of cross training will hinder the athlete and will actually be a digressing function since it targets neuro-muscular activities that are not appropriate to the athletes dominant sport. Despite the critics somewhat plausible inference, the fact is that cross training should be the foundation to any athletes conditioning. In The Benefits of Cross Training, Paul Krause explains how cross training may be the missing link to an athletes workout routine (9). By alternating the types of stress presented to the body, the physiological (functionality) gains are nearly limitless: an increased amount of muscle fibers to optimize overall performance, a balance to overstressed muscles while other areas are in focus, a reduction of injury recovery time due to partial strengthening to surrounding muscle groups, an increased flexibility and range of motion to prevent future complications, and even additional motivation to encourage an athletes emotions (9). All of these benefits come at the expense of nothing. And since the only requirement for a period of inactivity is serious injury, the athlete has the ability to continue training through the over-reaching, or fatigue associated with excessive performance that only lasts a few days, stages. All in all, the case made by Krause for potential performance enhancement by means of cross training is undeniable. From a distance runner with a biomechanical weakness of an imbalanced stride taking laps in the pool, to a rock climber who utilizes the low impact method of deep water running to develop core and leg strength, cross training is the most efficient, productive operation for athletes to improve a workout routine.

Bright 5 In a perfect world, anyone associated with athletics would stress the old saying of patience is a virtue. Because of the fact that injury is always looming by near and safety is bound to be disregarded, patience must take place in the form of rest. When asked what is the most important aspect in sports? the answer should be rest. Instead, the sports world has taken success and placed it on a pedestal, making the sole purpose of participation victory. In a sense there is nothing wrong with that mindset, but with success comes intense training usually overtraining. Overtraining increases the risk factors to athletes and will ultimately result in injuries. And it is at this stage, that rest must take its proper course. In order to rest properly, a full comprehension on the importance of downtime is required. Rest is the foremost necessary role that must be taken on the road to recovery for an athlete. Even after stating how cross training is the key to recovery since it allows for no periods of dormancy, cross training is still providing rest to the distressed areas by shifting the focus from them. When implemented towards the skeletal system, rest is capable of minimizing or eliminating the risk of events such as stress fractures. For instance, bones are constantly in a remodeling process which is known as osteoclastic reactions. And in order to regenerate that bone tissue, osteoblastic activity, or the formation of weakened bone, must catch up (Tuan and Sennett 584). A complexity incurs however, due to the fact that it takes only a mere 3 weeks for the resorption process, but a quarter of the year for regeneration to finalize (584). In other words, rest must be built into the workout routine to avert the threat of serious injury. It is not worth the incremental physiological improvements that are attainable through pushing for just one extra week, when that one extra week of training may set an athlete back months due to an avoidable injury. The same scenario may be assessed with the cardiovascular system. This system, collectively composed of the muscles, heart, lungs, and entire circulatory system, runs on the basis that muscle fibers and oxygen need to be diverted to the target area during training.

Bright 6 Without adjusting or planning adequate amounts of rest into the schedule, the system will be placed under excessive amounts of stress, and the energy demand is unable to be met. When this occurs, discomfort turns into pain, and over reaching has evolved into over training; injury is the result. But with knowing this, another question may arise. How much rest is enough rest? The proper amount of rest is difficult to delineate, so the best response it to always seek advice from a trained consultant. Depending on the situation, one of recovery between bouts of training or one of recovery post-injury, the proper amount of rest differentiates. All instances are sport and injury specific, but according to a case study by Trieb and Kainberger, even adequate portions of rest may not be enough to recover from serious injury. The case documents an elite teenage tennis player who falls victim to a career ending stress fracture. After international competition and practicing 5 times per week, he started to have tenderness in his shoulder. The discomfort continued and his injury worsened among his 7 weeks of rest. A misdiagnosis of the injury and his allowance to continue in competition, amid all of the rest periods, was enough to render the athlete incapable of future participation. Nonetheless, he did follow correct medical procedures and factor in rest, but it was already too late. The underlying notion here is to always respond to pain with rest, because pain is natures way of protecting the body from imminent damage or greater injury later on (Nessel 10). As Dr. Richard Borkowski states in his work The Risk Factor, there is nothing more boring in sports than safety, and Its boring, that is, until an athlete gets hurt (Borkowski). While injuries are simply inevitable in every sport, there are techniques available that if employed, will substantially reduce the risk of harmful incidents. It all starts with a knowledgeable, well trained, confident team of coaches. Being the first and primarily the only aid available, coaches must be able to react promptly and effectively to first aid situations. And having a certified caregiver on hand at all times, not just present for regulated competitions,

Bright 7 would improve safety exponentially. Furthermore, systematically implementing a cross training routine into the workout schedule will not only cut down on recovery time, but also lessen the likelihood of injury in the first place. By staying active and forcing your body to adapt to a new workload of additional stresses, the focus of primary muscles are given temporary relief and overall physical abilities are enhanced. Saving the best for last, appropriate periods of rest must be factored in to conditioning schedules. Allowing for the ability of productive, proper regeneration of weakened body systems, rest is the utmost ingredient for a healthy athlete. Summarizing with a quote from Nessel one last time, I have been sick, and I have been well . . . I like well better (10).

Bright 8 Works Cited Borkowski, Richard, P. The Risk Factor. 2004. National Center for Sports Safety. 25 Apr. 2010. Dunbar, Joe. Cross Training: A Triathlon Training Schedule. Peak Performance. 25 April 2010. Krause, Paul. "The Benefits of Cross-Training." AMAA Journal 22.2 (2009): 9-16. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 6 Apr. 2010. Nessel, Edward H. "Keeping the Athlete Healthy." AMAA Journal 22.1 (2009): 9-10. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 23 Mar. 2010. McDonald, Alex, M. Over-Reaching versus Over-Training: Gaining the Benefits, but Avoiding Avoiding the Pitfalls. PowerBar. 25 Apr. 2010. Potts, Aaron, M. Cross Training. American Fitness Professionals & Associates. 25 Apr. 2010. Tuan, Kenneth, Susan Wu, and Brian Sennett. Stress fractures in Athletes: Risk Factors, Diagnosis, and Management. Orthopedics 27.6 (2004): 583-591. MEDLINE with Full Text. EBSCO. Web. 15 Feb. 2010. Whitaker, Jonathan, Andy Cunningham, and James Selfe. "Youth Sports Injures and Their Immediate Management: A Review." Physical Therapy Reviews 11.3 (2006): 171-177. Health Source: Nursing/Academic Edition. EBSCO. Web. 15 Feb. 2010.