Reducing Shoulder Injuries in Football Players
The first college football game was played in 1869, and since then its popularity has increased tenfold. Athletes of all ages take part in this fast-paced game, and the intensity of the sport only grows. Some of the youngest athletes taking part in this sport are expected to practice four or five times a week and to perform in at least one game per week.
The dedication and level of skill expected only intensify as the sport evolves, and while this is great for pushing athletes to improve their skills, it can also mean an increase in injuries. The speeds are faster, the hits are harder, and injuries across all levels of the sport continue to increase.
Some of the most common injuries in football include knee injuries, concussions, and shoulder injuries. When it comes to shoulder injuries, some of the most common problems include dislocations, separations, and tendinitis. Dislocations and separations are often a result of hard contact and awkward falls, while tendinitis tends to be problematic in quarterbacks who are repetitively throwing in the same motion.
Reducing shoulder injuries in football players is important to keeping individuals on the field all season long. Consider these suggestions to improve those numbers and keep athletes’ shoulders healthy all season.
Football-Specific Strength and Conditioning
Weak tendons and muscles in any area of the body expose it to weakness and greater potential for injury. When it comes to an athlete’s shoulders, it is vital to maintain or improve the strength of the entire area to decrease the chances of injury.
The shoulder is a very tender area; many people struggle with improving its strength. However, the key to strengthening this area is a slow and steady progression of reps and weights. Those individuals who have weaker shoulders will want to start with a low weight and shorter reps and gradually work their way up to heavier challenges. The most effective approach will be to perform the exercises properly — not to use the heaviest weight.
Some key strength and conditioning exercises of the shoulder include the basic shoulder press, plate raises, barbell shrugs, and push presses.
Even tackles in football require the proper technique in order to keep both the hitter and the receiver safe. Using proper technique for every football move, including throwing, hitting, and blocking, is vital to avoiding injuries on both teams.
Proper tackling technique requires the hitter to slow down, get low, and keep their head up. Going full-tilt in a vertical position into other players can be ineffective, but it can also be dangerous to both players. It’s important to keep your head up so as to avoid neck injuries and concussions. When it comes to the quarterback, shoulder tendinitis is common with such a repetitive motion. The proper throwing form should include movements from the whole body to relieve the shoulder from some of the stress and pressure of getting the ball where it needs to go. Conditioning the legs, hips, torso, and shoulders will help quarterbacks to use all the parts of their body for a stronger, more effective throw that is injury-free.
Wearing quality shoulder braces is another way to reduce shoulder injuries in football players. There are a variety of models available for players’ specific needs and ailments, including issues with instabilities, muscle strains, rotator cuff tears, and separations.
Depending on the injury or issue at hand, shoulder braces are capable of immobilizing the area, or offering controlled motion for anterior, inferior, and posterior instabilities. Even those players who are simply trying to avoid injury can use a shoulder brace for extra protection and compression. A well-fitted, compressed brace helps to keep the area warm, increase blood flow, and decrease swelling.
Shoulder supports have evolved over time to be discreet and comfortable, with the ability to be worn under all types of equipment without affecting the performance of the player.
Sustaining overall fitness can help football players avoid injury both during season and in the off season. This means keeping up with workouts, rehabilitating any injuries, and maintaining strength and conditioning.
Those individuals who stop their regular workout regime in the off season are more likely to experience injuries when they’re back on the field, simply because their bodies are not used to the level of activity. Staying active, no matter how a player does it, will be effective in keeping up their strength and fighting off injury on the field.
Shoulder injuries are prominent in football players, but with the right precautions and preparation, it’s possible to reduce the chance of landing on the injured list. Consider the suggestions provided to greater protect this exposed area and enjoy a full season of football injury-free.