Intermountain Healthcare Experts Remind Athletes How to Avoid Injuries As They Return to Fall Sports

Industry: Healthcare

Athletes, from college to Itty-bitty ball, all can improve performance and lower risk from preventable injuries by using tips from Intermountain physicians.

St. George, UT (PRUnderground) August 18th, 2022

Student athletes are returning to the court and field as the fall sports season begins. Intermountain Healthcare doctors want to remind athletes, their coaches, and parents how to stay safe and avoid injuries as they prepare for the upcoming season.

For many athletes stretching and hydration seem like obvious areas of focus, but nutrition and properly taking care of injuries can be major factors in performance, as well as the athletes’ overall health.

“Student athletes in high school can be out of practice after a summer off so they need to be especially careful when they return to intense exercise,” said Ben Buchanan, MD, a sports medicine physician at Intermountain St. George Regional Hospital. “They need to ease into their exercise as their body gets used to sports again.”

This time of year, especially around southern Utah, hydration and avoiding heat illness are also a big concern with higher temperatures.

These problems can be exacerbated depending on the playing field because artificial turf and concrete have higher surface temperatures than grass. Athletes are encouraged to drink lots of water and occasional sports drinks to stay hydrated, but also need to take more breaks while competing.

Dr. Buchanan says another overlooked issue he sees for athletes’ health is nutrition. He notes a balanced diet taken at the correct times can make all the difference in performance.

“Eating fruits and vegetables can help keep athletes hydrated, but it’s also important to be consuming the right proteins and carbohydrates for energy,” said Dr. Buchanan. “At this age kids eat what they want with few consequences, but they may not realize the impacts it’s having on their performance.”

For example, doctors encourage their athletes to eat something with sodium after practice or a game so they can better retain the water they’re drinking.  They say athletes should also avoid fatty and greasy foods at least two hours before competing.

Dr. Buchanan says focusing on all aspects of an athlete’s health can ensure their better performance at a top level. Doing so can help avoid injuries while also helping athletes to recover faster when they do occur.

“Injuries are going to happen it’s a part of the game,” said Dr. Buchanan. “It’s easier to recover when a person is already taking care of their body and knows the steps to take.”

For more information on sports medicine or to find an Intermountain provider, click here.

About Intermountain Healthcare

Headquartered in Utah with locations in eight states and additional operations across the western U.S., Intermountain Healthcare is a nonprofit system of 33 hospitals, 385 clinics, medical groups with some 3,900 employed physicians and advanced care providers, a health plans division called SelectHealth with more than one million members, and other health services. Helping people live the healthiest lives possible, Intermountain is committed to improving community health and is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes at sustainable costs. For more information and updates, click here

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