No sport is without its injuries, and that’s certainly true with lacrosse. The good news is the sport continues to become safer and safer with better equipment, new rules, and an endless number of methods players can incorporate into their routine. Keep yourself out there on the field by discovering the little things you can do to remain off the injury report.
Most Common Lacrosse Injuries
Before we dive into the keys to prevent common lacrosse injuries, it’s important to know what the common injuries are. Lacrosse involves a lot of running and some contact as well, which can lead to the following injuries:
- ACL, MCL
- Ankle sprain
- Wrist and hand fractures
- Lower back pain
- Hip flexor strain
- Shin splints
- Foot blisters
As mentioned earlier, there are many things lacrosse players can do to protect themselves to the best of their ability against these common injuries. Strength training is where we will start since it’s a must for players outside of practice. It can both give you an edge on your opponents and help you dodge injury.
There are many excellent exercises and workout programs players can adopt in and out of season to keep themselves healthy. Some exercises that should be on your radar include:
- Tuck jumps
- Inverted rows
- Single leg RDLs
- Side-to-side single leg hops
Building muscle isn’t the only essential thing you should be doing outside of games and practice. It’s also incredibly important to have a pre- and post-game or practice routine. This routine should almost always include stretching.
Stretching will allow your muscles to remain strong, flexible, and ready for the hard work you are about to put in. Not stretching can result in soreness and make you more prone to pulling a muscle and other lacrosse injuries.
It never hurts to get your legs going, either. Instead of waiting for practice or a game to start running around, go on a light jog beforehand. One lap around the field should be enough to get your legs and heart rate ready, especially after a long day of sitting down.
Wear the Right Gear Properly
A huge part of keeping players safe on the field is wearing the proper equipment. This means wearing all your gear, including shoulder pads and a mouthguard, and strapping up your helmet. Since they are taking shots, goalies will want to take extra precautions by wearing gear like NOCSAE lacrosse chest protectors.
Wearing the gear is only half the battle—the other is making sure that it fits properly so it can serve its purpose. Visit Lacrosse Fanatic in Sacramento so you can try on all the equipment we have to offer to ensure that’s the case.
Tweak Your Playing Style
If you look at many professional athletes, they are always changing their games. Players don’t just do this to get better, but also because they know that they can prevent injuries by changing their play.
This is a tactic all lacrosse players should adopt because bad habits can contribute to injuries. For example, you can learn how to protect your body against a defensive player with positioning or know to detect when it’s a bad time to dodge right down the middle of the field. You can help your teammates out as well by knowing when you shouldn’t throw a “suicide pass.”
Respect the Game
Becoming a smarter player on the field isn’t the only thing you need to be doing to stay healthy. Every year, new rules come out that are tailored specifically toward player safety. As a player, it’s your responsibility to abide by these rules to keep yourself safe and avoid becoming the cause of injuries.
Stay in Shape
During the off-season, it’s tempting to just lounge on the couch, but you should remain active for many reasons. One of the biggest is so you can come into the season injury-free. Going on runs, weightlifting, and playing box lacrosse or other sports are all excellent ways to keep your body healthy.
What you put into your body is also incredibly important, and it all starts with drinking enough water. Staying hydrated can go a long way in helping you avoid injuries because it lubricates your joints and does so many other good things for your body.
Get Necessary Treatment
As an athlete, you also have to be vocal about how your body feels and get the necessary treatment when something doesn’t feel right. Dismissing discomfort can lead to bigger problems and more time on the bench if you aren’t openly communicating with a medical professional.
There are also great treatment options you can do on your own, such as taking ibuprofen, nursing an injury with ice bags, and using products with menthol, like Icy Hot, for pain relief. You can also invest in a massage gun and use it on your body before and after games or practices to reduce muscle soreness. Nonetheless, it’s always best to reach out to someone with a professional medical background before trying.
Listen To Your Body
Another huge part of preventing common lacrosse injuries is to do what some tend to ignore: what your body tells you. So many athletes are guilty of ignoring how they feel and deciding to play on, which results in an even worse injury. While some feelings are worse than others, it’s crucial that you don’t ignore any discomfort and that you address it first.
Take a Break
All these tips are about being proactive in making sure your body is ready for action, but sometimes we must give our bodies the rest they need as well. Lacrosse can put your body through a lot, and most of the time, it takes a day or two to bounce back from it all. Therefore, rest days are a must.
That’s not to say you can’t be physically active on these off days, but it’s okay, and in fact, it’s encouraged to let your body reboot after a long week of practice and games. Take that time to focus on your recovery by stretching, using a massage gun, eating healthily, and adopting other tactics to set yourself up for success.