Yes, it’s true; physical therapists are praying that you get injured when you play basketball or tennis. This way they will have you as their patient since you will need their help in order to get back to how you were before.
Before everyone starts bashing that first statement I will say this: that’s not true and I was merely saying that in jest. Granted there may be those who secretly wish that but for the most part most physical therapists would rather not see you injured in any way. Sure, it gives them business but I don’t think, and I am giving them the benefit of the doubt here, that anyone would wish something like that on his or her fellow man or woman.
That being said, it is true, and this one I can confidently say, that playing sports, either as a professional athlete or as a casual player causes a lot of injuries to people. It could be because you stepped on another player’s foot when you both went up for the rebound in basketball. It could be because you tripped when you tried to dive for that line drive in tennis; or it could be that you hit the back wall when you tried to catch that baseball.
The thing is, often the injuries come as a result of the body not totally prepared to play. This is especially true of the casual player. Let’s face it, after sitting down for 8 hours a day 5 to 6 times a week every week for the past 10 to 20 years you can’t expect to be able to play like Michael Jordan or LeBron James or Rafael Nadal.
You can, however, lessen the chance of you getting hurt or injured by simply doing things that can help your body be prepared for what you are about to put it into. While you will not be able to avoid certain injuries (see above) you can help prevent others.
Often, a lot of the injuries come from having pulled muscles or something similar. Muscles are wonderful pieces of bod machinery but like all machinery they do need to be properly warmed up. That’s because if you don’t do that the muscles tend to be hard and very resistant.
This means that as you start playing they won’t be as flexible and they will resist as much as they support resulting in sprains and potentially tears which can be painful. You should really warm up before playing any sport through stretching. This will help you muscles warm up so they are conditioned already to accept all the stretching and impact since they will be more flexible.
If you plan to play sports on a regular basis then exercise on a regular basis as well. This will help condition your body so that it is strengthened to be able to withstand the sport you will be playing. Also, wear protective gear if possible. Simple knee and elbow pads may look funny when you play basketball but once you fall down a couple of times you will be thankful that you did.
Deborah Koval knows more on how to prevent injuries.