We often hear a lot about professional athletes being injury prone.
It is very obvious with this group because there are fans tracking their performance. We notice when Gronk isn’t on the field. The Redskins players definitely miss Jordan Reed on the field every year.
These athletes are being paid a lot of money and there are expectations for them to be healthy. If not, the frustration goes.
What about kids? Can they be injury prone?
They absolutely can. There are a lot of kids that seem to deal with a lot of injuries growing up. I remember some of my friends always breaking bones, rolling ankles, and having other issues.
This can be frustrating for athletes and parents. They spend a lot of time and money to be involved with sports, but end up on the shelf quite often.
Injuries can happen for a number of reasons and they are going to be more prevalent in collision sports. That is just the nature of the beast.
Individual athletes can see patterns or trends, though. Sometimes it starts young with falling and breaking a bone and the list continues as they get older.
There are two major reasons that athletes get hurt.
Lack of Strength
Generally speaking, stronger athletes are more durable. They typically only get hurt due to contact or freak accidents. Strength training helps athletes not only produce, but absorb, a lot of force.
If it takes 5 force units (super scientific measurement) to cause injury in one athlete but 15 in another, then the first example is going to be way more “injury prone” than the second. I prefer to think of the second as more durable.
Athletes will benefit tremendously from beginning basic weight training at a young age. We start as young as 8 years old. These kids will usually use body weight and light med balls until they get older and progress on.
The real key is carving out time throughout middle and high school. Athletes that can make the time to train year round for multiple years are miles ahead of those that don’t make the commitment.
Overuse is a huge issue in young athletes. They simply do more than they can handle.
The body needs to recover and each practice, game, or bit of training makes it a little bit less resilient. If you do not give the proper time to recover it will take less demand to cause an injury.
I like the idea that athletes play multiple sports but the sports need to complement each other. If an athlete plays indoor soccer and basketball at the same time, they are not really getting away from running and changing direction. It might not be as much of a break as we think.
A lot of athletes and parents also think that strength training will contribute to overuse. The activity is so far different than sports that it actually will complement them. Just because something makes you sore does not mean that it is going to contribute to overuse. Stacking running on top of running, which is on top of running is a good way to get there though.
Injuries do not pick and choose certain people to inflict. Their occurrence is pretty simple: too much force placed on a joint results in an injury. Increase the ability to withstand force and reduce the risk of injury.
If you or your athlete is constantly dealing with injuries, give strength training a shot. It is usually the last thing that we think to try but can be the answer for building more durable athletes.