The human body is a remarkable construction. It’s strong, powerful, capable and — unless you’re me — resilient more often than not. With all this talk of being physically active and trying new things, I thought it was time for a post addressing risk, how to minimize it and what happens when despite your best efforts you find yourself injured.
While I’m not a doctor [insert moment of silence here], I feel I have sufficient experience to speak about this subject. I have the joints of someone far, far older than twenty paired with a “can’t stop won’t stop” approach to life. That combination isn’t particularly risk-reducing.
So, here are 4 tips to risk reduction in sport — coming from someone who needs all the reduction she can get.
- Prepare for whatever activity you’re undertaking. Eat, hydrate and sleep. Your body needs some help to be able to support you through exercise. If you let it down, it’s more likely to let you down.
- Ask questions. Instructors and coaches are there for a reason. If you’re unsure about something, ask! The more you know, the safer you can train/play.
- Listen to your body. Don’t ignore warning signs telling you to slow down or take a knee. Pain and discomfort should be taken seriously. They exist as a warning system — an alert to something being wrong. Sometimes it’s just a cramp caused by inconsistent breathing, and sometimes it’s more serious.
- Don’t do anything you’re not comfortable doing. Your ego can take the hit, but your body might have more trouble. While going outside of your comfort zone is critical for growth, it’s important to be conscious of where the line lies between growth and injury. As a member of the coaching community, I’ve got “perfection before progression” and “first you get good, then you get fast” pretty well drilled into my head.
Now what if you do all that and still get hurt? To simplify this discussion, I’ll focus on joint injuries as they are particularly common complaints.
First things first, don’t train with an injury. Nothing good ever comes of it. Take yourself out of the game and attend to your body.
If you have help accessible on site, use it. It’s better to get an injury checked out right away than to worsen it in an attempt to “suck it up.”
Where do you get help? On campus, we have two great resources:
First is Health Services in the Koffler building on St. George St. It’s a catch-all. This is where you see a General Physician (GP). They offer same-day appointments or you can sign up for an appointment on a later date. You need your T-Card and Health Card. Your GP may refer you to a specialized physician or give you a requisition for x-rays or other tests to help diagnose you. These are easy to obtain close to campus.
Your other option is the David L. Macintosh Sports Medicine Clinic. This clinic, located in the Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport, is dedicated to sport-related injuries. It’s not unusual to have to wait a week or two for an appointment as they’re quite busy. In that case, Health Services is the better choice (compared to waiting).
Long story short: Prevent your injuries where you can and address them if they do happen. I hope this has helped and that I haven’t just made you all paranoid. The reward really does outweigh the risk! Promise!