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Sports Injuries

As the weather warms up, children and adults alike rush outdoors to take in the sunshine and make up for a long winter of inactivity. All too often, though, spring also brings a rash of injuries as people plunge into sports like softball, soccer, and running.

“The health benefits of physical activity are well-known—you feel better, have more energy, and maintain a healthier weight. However, exercise or sports participation can increase risk of injury,” says Jennifer McKeon, an athletic training expert and professor in the University of Kentucky’s College of Health Sciences.

“People may not be aware that serious sports injuries in young people can increase the likelihood that they will develop arthritis—sometimes as young as their 20s or 30s,” says McKeon, who herself suffers permanent pain from high school sports injuries.

Before you put on your sneakers, follow a few simple steps to prevent sports injuries. McKeon recommends:

• Stay in good shape year-round so you’ll be ready for warm-weather sports.

• Have a checkup with your physician and talk about your plans to take up a new physical activity.

• Make sure you have the proper equipment (shoes, pads, clothing) for a sport. Be sure it fits well and is in good shape.

• If you are injured, seek evaluation from a trainer or physician.

• Take care of any injuries promptly to prevent further damage. Do not attempt to “walk it off.”

With this common-sense advice, people of all ages can prevent sports injuries—or at least minimize permanent damage.


LEARN MORE

For more information, visit these Web sites:

UK HealthCare Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine
www.ukhealthcare.uky.edu/ortho

UK Athletic Training Program
www.mc.uky.edu/athletic_training

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