How to Protect Your Neck When Playing Sports
Sport can be a wonderful activity to fill one’s free time, and engaging in regular sporting activity offers a lot of different benefits; sports allow you to stay fit and healthy, they give you a great way to meet like-minded people and make new friends, they’re often a lot of fun to play, and they can assist you with developing skills for other areas of life, like teamwork and leadership.
It’s no surprise, with all of those advantages, that sports are hugely popular all across America, with statistics showing that the average American dedicates 30 minutes of every day to sporting activities and young people, in particular, spend several hours of each week engaged in their favorite sports like hockey, soccer, baseball, and tennis.
At the same time, the sport has some risks and hazards that all players and enthusiasts need to be aware of too. Every day, people get hospitalized and seriously injured from playing sports, and neck injuries are particularly common. Sudden impacts, hard tackles, falls, and other incidents can lead to neck damage that might put you out of action for days or weeks, and could even lead to permanent consequences too. Here’s how to avoid them.
Strength and Conditioning
A good way to reduce your risks of neck injuries while playing sports is to focus more of your time and efforts on strengthening and conditioning the muscles in and around the neck itself. Of course, a strong neck can still be injured, but that added strength may help to prevent the most serious of injuries.
There are various ways in which you can work on strengthening your neck. Examples include exercises and stretches like the neck tilt, in which you tilt your head down to your chest or from side to side to either shoulder. You can find guides and long lists of neck exercises online to help out.
Always Wear Helmets and Protective Equipment
Another key piece of advice to bear in mind when it comes to protecting your neck and other parts of your body while playing sports is to always wear the requisite protective gear when you play. For football, for example, this might include helmets, shoulder pads, and other pads and protectors in key areas like knees, shins, and elbows.
Helmets, in particular, are very important for reducing the risk of neck injuries, as they’re able to absorb a lot of the shock that can come along with heavy impacts and hard tackles. This means less of that energy finds its way through to your head and neck, making you less likely to end up with whiplash or neck trauma.
Keep Your Head in the Game
If you want to stay safe while playing sports, you can’t allow yourself to get distracted or lose focus in any way on the game itself. You have to keep your head in the game from the first second through to the last, as it only takes a single moment of inattention for nasty accidents and damaging injuries to occur.
If your head isn’t in the game, you might not notice a player running right towards you, for example, or you might not be able to brace yourself for a tackle or collision. So make sure you remain focused and attentive throughout the game, always watching what other players are doing and being ready to react and evade dangerous situations.
Follow the Rules and Be a Good Sport
Another good method for staying safe in sports is to quite simply follow the rules. After all, rules weren’t just invented to keep games fair; they were also designed to protect the players and allow everyone to have a fun time with minimal risk of unnecessary injuries. It doesn’t matter what game you’re playing, following the rules is never a bad idea.
You should also try to play fairly and be a respectful player towards others. The standards of good sportsmanship help to reduce the risk of accidents too, as injuries are often caused by players bending the rules, being overly aggressive towards one another, or letting their emotions get the best of them.
Sports clearly offer a lot of advantages, and you shouldn’t feel afraid to play the games you love, but you still need to be cautious. Injuries happen on sporting fields, rinks, and pitches all the time, and so many could have been easily avoided with a little extra care and attention. Keep these tips in mind to have the safest times whenever you play.