Playing football can be a great way to work out, to meet new people, to spend time with friends and to improve your fitness levels. However, anyone who plays football runs the risk of injuring themselves – it’s simply part of the game. Football carries the unfortunate title of the sport that gives its participants the highest rate of injury, and some of its injuries can be severe.
A sports injury can be debilitating: it can both limit a player’s everyday life as well as impact their involvement in sports. As a player, you should ensure that you are well prepared for your games and that you know the risk factors for serious injury. Consider these helpful ways to minimise the risk of football injury before your next big game.
Maintain your level of fitness – even when you’re not playing football. It’ll be much easier to get back into the game after an extended interval if you’ve kept up your fitness levels. Whether it’s jogging a few times a week or lifting weights, you’ll be doing your body a huge favour. However, don’t rush into anything – if, for whatever reason, you haven’t managed to maintain your fitness levels during a break from football, try to ease back into it rather than trying to play like you did at peak fitness.
Make an effort to stretch both before and after your games, and always take the time to warm up. It might feel unnecessary if you’re not used to it, but your body will appreciate it, and you’ll feel better for it. Before a game, make sure to warm up with an activity like a light run alongside some stretches. Fifteen or twenty minutes should be enough – which, ultimately, is not long to sacrifice for something that will help you greatly during your game. Don’t forget to stretch after your game as well.
Eat well and stay hydrated. While eating unhealthy food may not directly cause injury, helping your body to stay in peak physical condition will mean that when you play football, it will be much more capable of handling difficult manoeuvres. Drinking enough water will ensure that you are well equipped to handle the game, both mentally and physically. You should be sure to drink more water than usual in the twenty-four hours before a match as well as during and after it, especially so if you are playing in a hot climate.
Use protective equipment. It may not be the most flattering look you can imagine, but protective equipment will do just as its name suggests and help to shield your body from injury. Wearing items such as shin guards and mouth guards will help to add a layer of protection, while skull caps, a fairly new introduction into the world of football, are designed to allow players to head the ball with less of a risk of concussion. Goalies are at particular risk of injury thanks to their high rates of contact with the ball; wearing gloves will help goalies to catch balls without incurring injury to their hands, and padding goal posts where possible will help to prevent injury in case of accidental contact.
Anyone who enjoys a game of football, whether they’re a seasoned expert or a casual player, should consider and understand its risks to avoid injury as much as possible. The risk of injury is always present in any sport, but being aware of what causes said injuries is half of the solution. Wear your protective gear, make sure you do your stretches and drink plenty of water, and you’ll be all set for your next big game!
As a freelance writer based in Dunedin, New Zealand, Cloe Matheson grew up in a household of sports lovers. When she’s not busy cheering for her favourite team, you’ll definitely see her crafting articles for various blogs, sites and local businesses such as Keith Andrews. See more of Cloe’s work on Tumblr.