From peewee and high school all the way up through the pros, football is one of the most popular sports in the United States. It’s also one of the most dangerous sports, and for student athletes, it is one of the most common causes of injuries. When you’re young, it’s so easy to believe that nothing bad will ever happen to you or that injuries only happy to older people.
The reality, though, is that contact sports like football carry a very real risk of sustaining injuries that can affect young athletes for the rest of their lives.
Non-fatal neck and back injuries are very common among young football players. However, many of these injuries could be avoided if players are made aware of how their spines work and what positions should be avoided during games. Here are a few ways to help your student athlete avoid serious injuries on the field.
How to Prevent Football-Related Back and Neck Injuries
Preventing serious back and neck injuries begins long before the first game. Going to the gym and conditioning the muscles with weight training exercises is important for most athletes. Unfortunately, trainers tend to focus on only area of the body that improve performance.
While football players do need to strengthen their legs and upper body, it is equally important to train the neck muscles. Strengthening the neck muscles can help prevent serious neck injuries because the toned muscles are able to absorb more of the impact of a collision, such as a tackle.
Warm Ups and Cool Downs
Make sure student athletes warm up before games and practice and cool down afterward. Stretching and warming up makes muscles much less likely to tear or strain, and cool down exercises after strenuous activity prevent sharp contractions of muscles that have been overexerted.
Protecting the Cervical Spine
The vast majority of serious injuries sustained during football games occur as the result of compression of the cervical spine. This is especially common when players collide during a tackle. Tackling or being tackled causes a lot of force, and when a player drops his head prior to impact, the ability of the cervical spine to absorb the impact is reduced. Keeping the head upright and avoiding helmet-on-helmet contact can dramatically reduce the severity and number of neck injuries in student football players.
Chiropractic Treatment for Football Players
You’re never too young to start seeing a chiropractor, and seeking chiropractic treatment is highly recommended for student athletes. Whether your child has suffered an injury playing football or not, regularly seeing a chiropractor is a good way to prevent long-term pain or other complications from playing sports.
At WellCore Health and Chiropractic, we provide chiropractic treatments for athletes of all ages, and we are more than happy to educate student athletes on the importance of protecting their backs and necks while engaging in contact sports. For more information on sports injuries or to schedule an appointment, please give us a call at 503-648-6997.