Football season is finally here!! Whether you're playing in a backyard pickup game or the Super Bowl, football is a rough sport that has the potential for serious injuries. The physicians at Resurgens Spine Center would like to share some ways to prevent spine injuries while you are playing football this season:
Train, Stretch and Warm up
Football is intense and involves the entire body. If you're not prepared for the physical demands of playing football, you could easily injure your back or neck. Proper strength training will help to improve the core muscles of your back. Stretching will also make your muscles and tendons more flexible and help decrease injuries during a practice or game. Also, don't forget to warm up for 20-30 minutes before any practice or game to ensure your body is ready for the physical demands of football.
Maintain Your Gear
Playing football requires a lot of pads and safety equipment. As you prepare to gear up, inspect all of your equipment to ensure it is in good shape. If any of your gear is ripped, missing straps, or is cracked, talk with your coach or equipment manager and replace it. Your helmet is crucial to prevent neck and head injuries, so make sure it fits properly and that the chin strap is adjusted correctly. If you take a big hit out on the field, check your helmet for cracks. Your safety gear can help prevent a serious injury, so it is important to get in the habit of checking it out frequently.
Use Proper Tackling Technique
Always tackle with your head up, facing your opponent, and never lead with the top of your helmet. Tackling with your head down can lead to concussion, whiplash, and even spinal fracture. Many players have suffered career-ending and debilitating injuries because of bad tackles, so make sure you are following the rules and that you know how to tackle the right way.
Don't Play with Injuries
Football players are known for being tough and "playing through injuries." If you are injured, it is important to be checked out by a physician or trainer. This is especially important with neck and back injuries. A hit to the spine can lead to paralysis, so it is important to have any neck or back injury checked out by a physician before returning to the field.
At Resurgens Spine Center, we love treating athletes. Their passion for the game really shows in their commitment to their team each week. We admire these players but we also want them to be able to keep playing the game they love for a long time. That's why we always advocate safety, not just for football players but for all athletes. If you've sustained an injury to your neck or back on the football field, schedule an appointment with one of the physicians at Resurgens Spine Center. Good luck and be safe this football season!