I have seen it too many times and have experienced it myself. Up and coming student athletes and injury from the lack of proper warm up and cool down education has led to more bumps and knocks resulting in watching the game from the sideline. Improper preparation, along with preventative maintenance have led to more sports related high school and college sidelined athletes that could very well be corrected by putting emphasis on stretching.
I come from a background of playing competitive soccer at the Division 1 collegiate level, winning multiple awards, state championships and of course my fair share of being in and out of the training room for treatments that could have been prevented or at least less time missing those important games. While growing up and fine tuning my soccer skills, my touch, shots, and all the other technical aspects of the game, stretching and proper warm up was never really anything that was emphasized as much as the other aspects of the game and in any sport for that matter.
I feel there should be more education on injury prevention, especially in high school athletics. I feel if proper education was implemented to coaches coaching sports teams at a young age, teaching fundamentals of warming up, stretching major muscle groups and proper cool down, longevity would be gained in the continuation in playing sports at a higher level in the future. I see it more often than not, high school athletes coming in for minor sprains and strains and my first question would be, “do you warm up or stretch before you play?” The typical answer is no and that is where I usually take the time to talk about preventative maintenance because if we can start early, less children would be sidelined and more would be able to continue on a healthy athletic endeavor.
In summary, I would love to see more involvement in recreational, high school and collegiate sports engraving the importance for proper pre and post-game stretching. This will greatly benefit student and recreational athletes as opposed to watching the sport they compete in from the sideline. With collaboration from coaches, teachers, athletic and physical trainers we can begin to start a movement in the right direction.
Matthew Danella, PA-C