Tips & Tricks: Sports-Related Whiplash
Like many other conditions, there are ways to help prevent the possibility of experiencing another whiplash injury. With sports, it comes down to the equipment, good form/ technique and, as always, rest and healing.
Wearing Sports Gear
Most contact sports – such as football, fencing and hockey – require players to wear padding when playing. However, there are other sports that have little to no protective gear for their players. Baseball and softball players wear helmets when batting, mitts to catch balls, and protective gear if they are the team’s catcher. Volleyball players have the option to wear knee pads. Soccer players may wear shin guards, and only the goalies can wear protective gloves. Running, basketball, cheerleading, dance… no protective equipment. This in mind, when playing sports, make sure to use any provided gear.
Practice Proper Technique
In addition to gear, practicing proper form/ technique when active is important. When playing any sport, players will assume positions they learned from practice, other games, and more. Players may record practice sessions to watch themselves, to review what the proper technique/form is. Stretching beforehand, along with a cool-down afterwards, helps prevent further injury to the body. With whiplash, athletes use specific exercises for neck muscles while warming up. They will do those same exercises when finishing practice or a game as well.
Get Plenty of Rest
Now, while it is important to wear appropriate gear and practice proper technique/form when playing sports, it is crucial for athletes to rest and heal in between sessions. Sports place stress on an athlete’s body, making them feel tired and drained afterwards. When they don’t rest or allow their bodies to heal, the chances of getting injured increases. The same applies to experiencing whiplash as well. This is way trainers will plan out several days, in a week, for their athletes to rest and let their bodies heal. Rest days have a multitude of benefits, including:
- Time to recover
- Reduce risk of injury
- Avoid muscle fatigue
- Improve healthy sleep
- Improve/ increase energy and endurance
- Spending time with loved ones