It might be hard for some people to believe, but preseason is here, and teams like the Seattle Seahawks are gearing up for the upcoming football season. Although this can be an exciting time for coaches and athletes, preseason can present a number of problems for both parties.
Perhaps ones of the biggest concerns going into the season are injuries, which can occur before, during, and even after the season is over. Exercising in the heat, for example, can result in dehydration, dizziness, and fainting. Head trauma, on the other hand, is a separate entity that can damage a player’s mental health and physical health, which can result in aches, pains, concussions, and cognitive impairment.
Luckily, there are steps coaches can take to ensure that their players are being safe on the field when they’re practicing and playing in games. That said, preseason practices usually focus on getting athletes in shape for the upcoming season. While some coaches and training staff members believe that players should already be in shape, the reality is that many athletes might still need help improving their physical condition.
This can be done by helping players become more flexible, and helping them improve their endurance. In the NFL, however, preseason conditions normally consist of vigorous exercises to help weed out athletes who might not be suited for the team’s playing style. For the majority of athletes, there is a huge risk of injury since the body is being pushed to its breaking point.
The risk of dizziness and injury is made worse from high temperatures and humidity that’s common around this time of year. This is why coaches normally hold conditioning sessions early in the morning or later in the day when the weather outside is much cooler. But when you add football equipment like shoulder pads, helmets and thigh pads, the risk of experiencing hyperthermia increases substantially. To matters worse, some coaches may decide to limit water to build toughness. This misguided belief is inappropriate in every way and shouldn’t be practiced.
Another concern, especially in contact sports like football, is the risk of concussions. Throughout the years, head trauma in sports in like football has become a world-wide topic for coaches, players, and their families. Even “minor” concussions can result in long-term health problems. While the primary focus is on football, the reality is, athletes in any contact sports can experience concussions.
With that in mind, new recommendations call for better assessments for athletes and coaches. That means if a player experiences a concussion during practice or while playing in a game and doesn’t realize it, it’s then up to the coaching staff to recognize the common symptoms and get that person out of the game.
So, what are some ways athletes and coaches alike can practice being safe on and off the field?
To begin with, all players should undergo some sort of physical exam before they start conditioning. The risk of injury can also be reduced by making sure players on the roster are in good shape. Perhaps the easiest way to keep players motivated is by finding incentives to help motivate them and build strength even throughout the offseason. This can be done two ways: by extending contracts and by getting players Super Bowl ready.
Unfortunately, when it comes to off-the-field injuries, players are at a much higher risk since they can be injured by practically anything. That said, it’s important for players to practice being safe — even when they’re not at the football facility.
One way, for example, NFL players can practice being safe is by monitoring what they put in their body and what they put on their body. What does that mean? It means players need to make sure they’re consuming the nutrients needed to function correctly.
It also means that athletes should monitor what artwork they put on their body as well. Tattoos, for instance, are well known in the NFL, but what most players don’t know is that if they aren’t careful, they can contract things like STDs from dirty needles piercing the skin. That means if athletes are carelessly sharing equipment they worked out in, the results could be dangerous – depending on the illness. To avoid that from happening, however, players need to practice being safe off the field.
In the end, while injuries can’t be avoided in sports like football, they can be minimized through careful planning and constant communication with coaches, teammates, and trainers. Certified trainers and physicians, for example, have the knowledge and skills needed to assess key injuries and monitor health conditions. With all that being said, making sure you’re taking care of your body as an athlete at all levels should be your number one priority.