Five Player Safety Tips To Put In Place Now

October 23, 2018 | Coaches, Performance, Prevention

By Dev K. Mishra, M.D.

President, Sideline Sports Doc

Clinical Assistant Professor of Orthopedic Surgery, Stanford University

Key Points:

  • Monitor your players’ training loads
  • Be aware of weather safety, especially lightning and cold weather
  • Take 15 minutes to review your on-field injury recognition protocols
  • Make sure you’re up to speed on concussion evaluation
  • Use a good dynamic warmup, and if you’re a soccer team start using the FIFA 11+

Today’s post is directed towards coaches, but parents can benefit from these tips too. Maybe your sport is football, or soccer, or cross-country. Whatever it is, you’re thick in to your fall season, focusing on practices, competition and hopefully aiming for playoffs. In spite of everything you’re busy with there are still some important steps you can take now to make sure you’re performing at your best. I recently participated in a webinar with US Club Soccer, and adapted here for any sport are five areas to revisit now:

  1. Monitor your players’ training loads
  2. Be aware of weather safety, especially lightning and cold weather
  3. Take 15 minutes to review your on-field injury recognition protocols
  4. Make sure you’re up to speed on concussion evaluation
  5. Use a good dynamic warmup, and if you’re a soccer team start using the FIFA 11+

Let’s get into some detail.

  1. Try to monitor your players training loads as this is the time of year when practices and games can start adding up and overuse injuries can start cropping up amongst your players. Know your players well and try to get a sense for how they’re feeling by monitoring their performance during practices and modify accordingly.
  2. Be aware of weather-related changes that start happening as we get into the fall months. It’s easy to drop your guard as the weather gets a bit cooler but believe it or not heat illness is still possible in some parts of the country and lightning safety is still important. The new phrase here is “if the thunder roars go indoors” so if you hear thunder abandon practice and go indoors. Don’t resume practice for at least 30 minutes after the thunder and lightning have stopped.
  3. Know how to evaluate an on-field injury. It’s important to make a “go” or “no-go” decision that’s in the best interest of the player, regardless of how tense the on-field situation may be. Our SAFE Method™ course and app are great ways to learn this.
  4. Take a few minutes to re-review your sport’s concussion evaluation and return to play guidelines. Know clearly that the gradual return to play protocol will take a minimum of 5 days AFTER the athlete is completely symptom-free. Let the parents of young players know through your actions that you’re incredibly serious about proper concussion risk reduction.
  5. Be sure to start training and games with a good dynamic warmup. Each sport has a version of this, they are important from both the injury prevention and performance standpoints. If you haven’t been doing one, get started now! It’s never too late. If you’re a soccer team I strongly encourage you to start the FIFA 11 warmup program.

These tips will work for players of all ages, and all sports. Keep your players as healthy as possible and performing at their best as you head into the final stages of your fall season!

 

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