Tips for Preventing Concussions in Sports

Tips for Preventing Concussions in Sports

Health and Fitness

Tips for Preventing Concussions in Sports

By

Sports are a great source of fun and entertainment for those who participate and watch. Playing sports regularly can also become your ticket to improve or maintain your overall health and wellness as this activity can help you get better sleep, make new connections, and reduce stress. Playing sports can also improve your mental health and lessen your risks to anxiety and depression.

However, the unfortunate reality of sports is that they come with the risk of injury. Sports, in general, will require you to make contact with other players in order to score and win, which means that you’re always at risk of injuries. The more physical the sport is, the higher your risk is to injuries. 

Engaging in just about any sport you can think of can lead to an injury. These injuries can vary in severity depending on the circumstances that caused them. While some of these injuries are minimal and usually go away on their own, others can get too severe and can become the reason why you’ll have to rest for days or even stop playing for life. In worse cases, these injuries can even become fatal. 

One of the most significant types of injury is any wound to the head, something that can be avoided or at least decreased with the right catcher’s mask and helmet as well as other protective gear. Anything that will damage your brain is highly dangerous and can cause permanent complications.

This is why sports safety is crucial. Even something as simple as wearing a helmet while riding a bike halves the risk of a serious head injury.

Concussions and head injuries often go overlooked, but you need to take them seriously. Sure, you might still be able to play after hurting your head from playing, but more often than not, these injuries will start affecting organs inside of your body. Some injuries might even take years before you can actually feel or see symptoms.

To help you do this, we’ll provide a few tips for preventing concussions from sports below. 

Wear a Fitted Helmet

The first thing you should do is wear a fitted helmet.

There are two aspects to helmets and that includes wearing one and ensuring it’s a good fit.

Not all sports require helmets, so this tip might be irrelevant for something like soccer. However, it’s important for other sports like football, hockey, bike riding, and motocross.

Most organized sports involving helmets make them a requirement, but the problem arises when sports are played recreationally. Organized sports include authority and oversight while recreational sports typically do not.

For example, nobody is going to make sure you’re wearing a helmet before you take off on a bike trail. In situations like these, you need to be smart and wear a helmet even if you feel confident that you don’t need one. 

Beyond the basic need for a helmet, you should be wearing one that is a proper fit. While wearing a helmet does reduce your risk of a serious head injury, the effectiveness of the helmet is dictated by how well it fits on your head.

If you’re wearing a helmet with a loose fit, then it will move around and won’t provide good support. Rather than fully absorbing a blow, your helmet might rotate and leave part of your head exposed.

With this in mind, be sure that you’re always wearing a helmet for dangerous sports and verify that it fits your head perfectly. 

When buying a helmet, spend some time to try it first before buying it. Move your head in the same way that you move when playing. In this way, you’ll know whether the helmet you’re eyeing to buy is snug for you and it can actually protect your head from concussions. 

Use Proper Technique

Another important suggestion for avoiding a concussion is to use proper technique.

No matter what type of physical activity you’re trying to do, using proper form is always a good idea. Failing to do so often puts extra strain on your body and can overexert certain muscles that aren’t expecting the added load. Improper form can also become the reason why you’ll perform poorly at any game. How can you score points in baseball if you don’t know the proper form in hitting the ball? Do you think you can win at hockey if you’re clueless on which form to use when playing?

For example, form is incredibly important when at the gym and lifting weights. When you use improper form, your risk of injury drastically increases as you won’t be using the correct muscles to support the weight that you’re trying to lift.  Instead of improving your physique and your performance at sports, improper techniques can do the complete opposite, putting all of your efforts down the drain. 

This is no different for any other sport requiring form. In football, you need to use a good form for tackling to avoid putting yourself in a vulnerable position. 

This comes down to learning and mastering the fundamentals. With a good starting point, you’ll have good form and this makes you a better player and less prone to injuring your head.  

Avoid Direct Contact

Sep 5, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros center fielder George Springer (4) greets catcher Robinson Chirinos (28) prior to their game against the Seattle Mariners at Minute Maid Park. Springer is listed day to day because of a concussion. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

You should also make a point of avoiding any direct contact with your head.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to get wrapped up in the frenzy of a game. If you aren’t aware of the risks of head-to-head contact, then you might not take action to avoid letting it happen.

That said, head-to-head contact is one of the quickest ways to wind up with a concussion. A concussion requires a blow to your head and rattling of your brain, which is exactly what happens with many hits to the head. 

In football, you might tackle in a way that makes your head hit first. In soccer, you might go for a header and this can also be problematic.

Take this into consideration and make sure to never use your head! Lead with other body parts and let anything else absorb a blow to prevent an injury to your head. 

Strengthen Your Neck

One of the best tips for avoiding concussions is to strengthen your neck muscles.

Think about what supports your head and holds it upright. It’s your neck! Understanding this, wouldn’t strengthening your head support seem like a natural way of reducing injury? 

Strengthening your neck muscles is incredibly effective and will limit your risk for a concussion. When you have stronger neck muscles, your head is capable of sustaining more impact.

This doesn’t mean that you should run in head first, but rather that you’re more durable. Part of the impact from a blow to the head is cushioned by your neck muscles, so having more muscle translates to a better cushion.

As a result, less force is transferred to your brain during impact. This means less movement and a lower chance of sustaining a concussion. 

While neck strengthening might not be a current part of your workout regimen, adding it is a fantastic way of protecting you from a concussion. 

Watch for Symptoms

Oct 6, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph (2) is led to a cart during the third quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field. Rudolph left the game with a concussion during the overtime victory by the Ravens. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Finally, you should be vigilant and watch for any symptoms of a concussion.

While this won’t necessarily help you avoid one from happening in the first place, it can prevent you from exacerbating it. Most concussions are fairly minor, but they become more serious with long-lasting effects when they are aggravated.

Because of this, you need to take quick action anytime there is any possibility of a concussion. This entails looking for warning signs, of which there are many.

Signs of a concussion can include anything from dizziness, amnesia, nausea, headache, inability to focus, lack of balance and improper walking, and fatigue.

Generally speaking, you should take precautions whenever a blow to the head happens. It is much better to be safe than sorry in this situation because neglecting it can cause life-long complications.

Closing Thoughts

While sports are meant to be enjoyed, they come with their fair share of injuries and concussions are one of the biggest to be concerned with. Concussions may not seem serious, but any injury to the head cannot be ignored as it might mean damage to your brain.

Considering this, you’ll want to know how you can be safe and avoid concussions while playing sports. A few tips include wearing a fitted helmet, using proper technique, avoiding direct contact, and strengthening your neck. 

Additionally, always be sure to watch for any signs of a concussion. Don’t delay taking action and seek medical attention to rule out a brain injury. While injuries like a concussion aren’t always avoidable, they can be reduced with extra precaution! 

More Sports

1hr

January 27, 2021 10:18 pm · By:

(Author’s note: This article was started on January 20, but sometimes life intervenes and we have to put things off. This is a (…)

More Health and Fitness
Home