How do injuries happen when playing sports? What are some factors that can lead to an injury? Generally speaking, when we think of injuries in the athletic realm, we think of hard contact and accidents. Injuries occur based on many factors and it starts with the athletes’ body. Is the athlete strong enough to handle the physical stress of their sport? We have seen all types of athletes go through injuries and that can already prove to us that it is a complex matter, but with a strong fact that strength is a key injury prevention tool.
When we’re looking at injuries, we need to understand how and why that injury happened. For instance, if a high performing basketball athlete tears an ACL that was not from hard contact, or a bad fall, you definitely need to reconsider why it happened. Each athlete has a unique body and physique that allows them to perform the way they intend to perform. However, a factor such as muscular strength imbalances can be the root cause for an injury to occur.
The ACL is responsible to keep the tibia and femur in line with the hips and it gets help from the surrounding muscles to keep the knee stable. When athletes have a lack of strength in their glutes, their knees become vulnerable when absorbing ground impact, otherwise, it goes into a valgus shift as the body gets into a squat position. When that knee takes on the hard cuts and turns, and the bad landings from the rebounds, it’s only a matter of time until it gives away. The best way to prevent that is to get the hips and the surrounding muscles stronger to work together and protect the knees.
The glutes are a very important muscle group that should be the strongest in our body. Lacking strength in the glutes can have great looking athletes spending most of their time on a physical therapy bed. The best way to stay clear of no-contact injuries is to keep your strength in check and train effectively for your sport. The stronger you are, the better the performance, the less you get injured.
Another factor we tend to neglect when looking at the root cause of injuries is the type of training we’re doing. Are you really training like an athlete should be training? Many athletes get blinded by the cool online exercises and tools they find and neglect training the fundamental movements that they do in their sport. You can be the best quarterback there is when it comes to playing football, but if you have a weak rotator cuff or an unstable scapular, that issue should be prioritized and addressed first in your training routine. Getting stronger and staying strong helps take out injuries as a limiting factor to your performance.
Relying on raw talent can’t always save you. You’ll be the athlete with a good arm and bad shoulder stability and mobility, beating the weak rotator cuff muscle each time you're throwing, leading to an injury. You’ll be stuck at half of your full potential because there are one or two important things missing in your training. If you keep the body in shape for the stress of your sport, you are more resistant to potential injuries because you’ve maintained an adequate routine.
-Coach Andy Louis