Archive for “Injury Prevention” Tag

Concussion Prevention: A Pro-Active Approach

 

Concussion Prevention For Young Athletes

 

concussion for high school young athletes

 

By Jim Kielbaso

 

The concussion problem in sports has reached epidemic proportions. The NFL is spending millions on awareness and just instituted new practice rules to reduce the number of blows the players are exposed to during practices. Several high school athletic associations are also implementing new rules to deal with the issue. So far, everything has focused on how to deal with the athlete after the concussion, but there is now a movement to help educate athletes, parents and coaches about sports concussions and what can be done to prevent or avoid them. We’ll never be able to eliminate concussions from sports, but there are certainly things we can do to help reduce the forces our brain encounters.

 


There are really four basic components of concussion prevention:

 

    1. Protective equipment – In most sports, this means properly fit, quality helmets and mouth pieces. Unfortunately, no equipment or training currently known to us will eliminate concussions. “The best helmet on the market can still lead to injuries of the head including concussions,” said Scott Peck, a certified athletic trainer in Washington state. “To decrease concussions, athletes need to practice good technique in tackling and blocking by keeping their heads away from contact.”

 

    1. Technique – Some sports include more contact than others. Good coaches always teach athletes not to initiate contact with the head, but we still see a lot of young athletes using poor form when tackling or hitting.

 

    1. Awareness – It seems crazy, but there are still a lot of parents and coaches who simply do not understand how dangerous a concussion can be or that there is inherent risk involved in participating in most sports. This site was set up to help heighten awareness at the same time we discuss prevention options and proper treatment

 

  1. Training – This component is just now picking up momentum, but some coaches have known about this concept for years. This is also the least publicized aspect of concussion prevention for several reasons.

 

First, most people don’t know how to safely and effectively train the head and neck musculature. Second, it would be next to impossible to produce scientific evidence to show that training will help prevent concussions because you would have to use real human beings and expose them to potentially life-threatening blows. This would never pass any collegiate ethics committee, so the research probably cannot be done.

 

Still, the automotive industry has known for years that a stronger and stiffer neck significantly reduces the G-forces encountered by crash test dummies in crash research. It seems obvious that a stronger neck would be extremely helpful during a blow to the head, but most doctors aren’t yet ready to admit that. That could be because:

 

a. Doctors won’t make any money from the prevention side of this issue.
b. Doctors probably have no idea how to train.
c. Doctors typically refer to the scientific literature, but we already established that this evidence will probably never be published in any scientific journal.

 

We have to understand that no amount of training or equipment will eliminate all injuries, but that is not the point. Ten years ago, ACL prevention programs were virtually non-existent. Today, female athletes all over the country understand that proper training will limit their risk of sustaining an injury. Yet, ACL injury rates haven’t slowed down. It doesn’t mean that the training has not helped. And, going through a training program does not mean you will never hurt yourself. Training is meant to reduce risk or severity of an injury.

 

The same goes for properly training the neck & head to reduce the risk of concussions and serious neck injuries. The training does not eliminate the injuries, but it can help to lessen the risk or severity of neck and head injuries.

 

The leading researcher on neck training, Ph.D. candidate Ralph Cornwell, put it best when he said “If we know that it might help, and it’s not going to hurt, why wouldn’t you want to do this kind of training? People do ACL prevention programs all the time. This is like an ACL prevention program for your brain and neck. You can replace your ACL, but as far as I know, you only have one brain. It just makes sense to protect it.”

 

Research done by the NFL is now revealing that the repetitive sub-concussive blows – the hits that don’t knock you out, but just ring your bell a little – are the main culprit behind the long-term brain damage seen in many former athletes. Many of these athletes are now suing major sports organizations because they are mentally and physically disabled due to these blows. It seems that every brain has a certain number of hits it can take before long-term damage sets in. The more G-forces the brain encounter, the worse it gets.

 

Training can reduce the G-forces encountered on these sub-concussive blows, raising the bar on the number of hits it will take before the long-term damage sets in. This is some of the best news ever presented on this topic, because it gives us hope that we may be able to combat this problem.

 

Major sports organizations like USA Hockey and the NFL are recognizing that something must be done, so rules are changing quickly. Even Dr. Robert Cantu, who is considered one of the leading experts on the subject, has said that he thinks young athletes should wait until they are stronger and more mature before they engaging in intense contact/hitting sports. This means that the leading authority on concussions understands that being stronger will have a positive effect and is part of the concussion prevention equation.

 

With the knowledge that training can help prevent concussion and other injuries and, when done properly, can cause no harm, why would we NOT strengthen the muscles surrounding the head and neck?

 

 

Youth Sports Training for Large Groups

Youth Sports Training For;

Mobility & Active Flexibility
Injury Prevention – Mechanics
Injury Prevention – Deficits
Torso

 

I had 20 minutes, one volleyball court and 50+ young athletes…

 

So, here’s how I broke it down:

 

(A) Mobility/Active Flexibility (7 Minutes)

 

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Making Youth Training Work No Matter What

Youth Training Systems

Youth Training

 

(1) Create An Ascension System

 

Prior to my arrival, if you watched the Novice Teams (8 – 11 years old) go through their conditioning regime and then you watched the Senior Team (16 – 18) right after, you’d have trouble distinguishing the difference.

 

Exercise Selection.

 

Volume.

 

Coaching Style/Intensity.

 

Across the board; identical.

 

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Championship High School Training

young athletes

 

My fondest memories of coaching are very specific.

 

Specific to a period of time, particular location and group of young athletes.

 

Barrington High School.

 

Just outside Chicago, Illinois.

 

2004 – 2006.

 

I had started working at a large sports training facility not too far away from BHS.

 

Naturally, I wanted to position myself as the ‘go to expert’ for all the Young Athletes who participated in the competitive sports the school had to offer.

 

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The Training Template Secret

It’s great to watch a video or DVD and see what a quality training session is supposed to look like.

 

I always enjoy having exercise photographs at my fingertips with a visual representation of what each rep should look like along the way.

 

I also adore being able to read key information about what the Coach or Trainer was thinking when they designed a particular training program, or what philosophies and concepts they feel are important with respect to Speed, Strength, Coordination, Mobility, Flexibility and Injury Prevention.

 

And I especially love being given ‘sample programs’.

 

A literal “here, just do this because it works” roadmap for success.

 

You get that and every ounce of the information mentioned above inside my ‘Complete Athlete Development’ system.

 

But do you know what my favorite part is?

 

 

The fact that I took the time to create and develop a Training Template for you.

 

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Young Athletes and Skill Sets Part 2

Young Athletes Skills Part 2

by Dr. Toby Brooks

young athletes

KISS Me: Skill Setting the Jump Shot (Part II)

 

If you read my last post, you followed along as I walked us through the first three steps to consistent jump shot performance for a young basketball player. We discussed how the athlete should “catch,” “set,” and “see.”

 

In this installment, we will finish the jump shot skill set by discussing the other four keys, “dip,” “extend,” “flip,” and “crash.” As we discussed last time, it is likely ultimately more functional to further simplify this skill set into even fewer keys, however, for teaching purposes, the seven step approach will allow us to be highly specific without unnecessarily confusing the young athletes.

 

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Injury Prevention Training for Young Athletes?

Is injury prevention training necessary for young athletes?

 

Is a quality long-term young athletes development plan already equipped with injury preventative features?

 

I presented a seminar at Club Industry in Chicago last week and got myself into a raging argument with an attendee about this topic.

 

Would do you think?

 

Leave a comment below and state your case…

 

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Injury Prevention and Youth Performance Training

 

 

Youth Performance Training,/h1>

 

So here’s where I chime in.

 

Want the truth from my perspective?

 

Blunt and to the point as usual….

 

 

Injury prevention and youth performance training is the same thing.

 

 

When working with young athletes in a well-designed developmental
process, the goal is simply skill acquisition and advancement.

 

Done correctly, injury prevention and performance gains take care of
themselves.

 

Now, this is in stark contrast to much of the industry who pontificate
about specific "6-Week Injury Prevention Programs" or "8-Week Off-Season
Speed Training Programs"

 

A well-designed developmental system of training involves little more than
teaching skill, progressing the skill and then subsequently applying it
to specific patterns or sports when required.

 

Biomotor gains (i.e. speed, strength, flexibility increases) occur naturally
as a bi-product of such a system.

 

So to does injury prevention.

 

When technique and force application is taught correctly and in a progressive
manner, efficiency of movement, systemic strength and range of motion increases
happen naturally.

 

When young athletes move better, are stronger head to toe and have full, complete
ranges of motion through joints, they are naturally less likely to incur injury.

 

It really is just that simple.

 

But do you know how to construct a fully developmental and progressive
training system?

 

Do you understand fully what sorts of training stimulus are necessary at certain
ages in order to maximize athletic performance?

 

Maybe it’s time to look very seriously at my Complete Athlete Development
System.

 

More than 10,000 young athletes worldwide, Coaches, Trainers and Parents
haven’t been wrong.

 

Click on the link below to see what I mean –

 

www.CompleteAthleteDevelopment.com

 

 

‘Till next time,

 

Brian

 

 

 

ACL Injuries and Young Athletes

 

 

Young Athletes Commn Injury

Sooner or later you’re going to get hurt. That’s what happens when athletes train hard and play intensely. But thanks to professionals like Erin Perry, young athletes are returning to action better and faster than ever before. Not to mention, her tips in this article will help you avoid injuries before they happen.

 

Erin is a sought-after athletic therapist in Toronto, Canada, specializing in pediatric elite athletes. She has worked with the women’s national soccer teams for 8 years, as well as the national gymnastics team, and regional teams including hockey, rugby, soccer, swimming, basketball, and volleyball to name a few. Erin also runs Developing Athletics Canada and the EOS Performance Institute.

 

Brian: Erin, can you tell us about the young athletes you typically work with and how you got into athletic therapy?

 

Erin Perry: As a young person, I was athletic, I enjoyed soccer, swimming, rowing, and skiing. I experienced some injuries, but it was the concussions that caused me to ‘hang ’em up’. I figured then and there that if I couldn’t be an athlete, that I would work hard to take care of other athletes in helping them realizing their dreams. Now I specialize in pediatric elite athletes both in clinic and field situations. Their development, training and treatment are my focus. So many injuries that I treat are preventable.

 

Brian: One of the most common injuries in female athletes is a torn ACL. What are your experiences in treating this injury and your thoughts on injury prevention?

 

EP: I am so happy that you asked. Most ACL injuries are what we call non-traumatic, which simply means that it is an injury that no contact was made in. For example, a soccer player running down the line with the ball, works to move the ball inside, and suddenly falls down while hearing a pop; an ACL tear. These are all preventable! The number one cause of these types of injuries is tight hamstrings. The three hamstrings should be stretched separately, and when tested in a straight leg raise, attention must be made that the findings are made with the pelvis remaining stationary. As soon as the pelvis rotates posteriorly, the test is negated. Most females have good straight leg raise range of motion, but have poor hamstring flexibility. The difference here is crucial. Normal is 80-90degrees. Please be tested, do the tests, and tell all of your friends and teammates, so that we decrease the incidence of ACLs! The other preventable cause is a muscle imbalance between the quadriceps and hamstrings. I will say that this is crucial, that the three hamstrings need to be strengthened again individually. Closed kinetic chain strengthening should be done all of the time, unless it is a rehab program.

 

Brian: Is the ACL injury common among all sports?

 

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Coordination and Movement Skill Development For Young Athletes: The Key to Long Term Athletic Success

 

 

Young Athletes Long Term Athletic Success

The key ingredient to working with pre-adolescent and early adolescent young athletes is providing global stimulation from a movement perspective. Younger athletes must experience and eventually perfect a variety of motor skills in order to ensure both future athletic success and injury prevention. Developing basic coordination through movement stimulus is a must, with the eventual goal of developing sport-specific coordination in the teenage years. Coordination itself, however, is a global system made up of several synergistic elements and not necessarily a singularly defined ability.

 

Balance, rhythm, spatial orientation and the ability to react to both auditory and visual stimulus have all been identified as elements of coordination. In fact, the development of good coordination is a multi-tiered sequence that progresses from skills performed with good spatial awareness but without speed to skills performed at increased speeds and in a constantly changing environment. As Joseph Drabik points out, Young Athletes coordination is best developed between the ages of 7 – 14, with the most crucial period being between 10 – 13 years of age.

 

As with anything else, an important issue with respect to coordination development is to provide stimulus that is specific (and therefore appropriate) for the individual. Prescribing drills that are either too easy or too difficult for the young athletes will have a less than optimal result.

 

An interesting note, as I have suggested in past articles, is that there appears to be a cap with respect to coordination development and ability. Younger athletes who learn to master the elements associated with good coordination (balance, rhythm, spatial awareness, reaction etc), are far better off then athletes who are not exposed to this kind of exercise stimulation until advanced ages. The ability to optimally develop coordination ends at around the age of 16. This validates the claim that global, early exposure is the key from an athletic development standpoint. Again, global coordination will serve as the basis to develop specific coordination in the teenage years.

 

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The Young Athletes Injury Prevention Lie

 

 

Young Athletes Programming Do Reduce Injuries

You can’t build a house on quicksand.

 

You just can’t.

 

When the base isn’t sturdy, the structure is bound to
topple.

 

And that’s the only real lesson you need to understand
when it comes to injury prevention for young athletes.

 

It’s all in building a foundation.

 

From the ground up.

 

As Trainers and Coaches, our entire obligation when
working with younger athletes (6 – 13 years old) is to
fill them with as much athletic knowledge as possible.

 

Nothing ‘sport specific’.

 

Nothing ‘position specific’.

 

Just a full and complete warehouse of information.

 

Force production and absorption.

 

Speed and agility skill.

 

Lift mechanics and positioning.

 

Teaching young athletes how to perform these critical
elements of sporting success in the undeniable key
to the becoming champions.

 

But it’s also the most important factor in preventing
injuries as well.

 

And that is one of the main issues we have wrong in
this industry.

 

True injury prevention does not come in the form of
6-week programs geared towards lessoning the risk of
certain incidents.

 

Real injury prevention occurs naturally as a secondary
result of proper developmental training.

 

It is not an isolating issue that needs to be addressed
separately.

 

Case in point, I was reviewing an ‘ACL Prevention’
program offered by a local hospital last week and saw
the curriculum they teach their young athletes during
this 6-week course:

 

a. Deceleration Techniques

b. Jumping and Landing Mechanics

c. Proper Strength Training Technique

 

Is there anything in there that shouldn’t automatically
be included in a well designed athletic development
training system?

 

What denotes this specifically as an ‘ACL Prevention’
program?

 

A good friend and colleague mine, Alwyn Cosgrove, is
found of saying, "If it isn’t injury prevention that
doesn’t that make it automatically injury promotion?"

 

Alwyn’s comment is meant to make you think.

 

All quality training programs should be based on
preventing injuries.

 

If they aren’t, than they’re promoting them – which
doesn’t seem to make any sense.

 

In the case of young athletes (6 – 13), the most
critical factor in preventing injuries is in understanding
the science and practical application of coordination
development.

 

 

Balance

 

Spatial Awareness

 

Kinesthetic Differentiation

 

Rhythm

 

Movement Adequacy

 

 

How each of these commodities apply to a training
session.

 

How to create fun and engaging drills for each of them.

 

Why they are critical for both future performance and
injury prevention.

 

And it seems to me that when it comes to working with
younger athletes, very few Coaches and Trainers truly
seem to get it.

 

ACL and other debilitating injuries that occur in the
teenage years can be prevented by applying the right
kind of exercise stimulus while athletes are still
very young.

 

Maybe worth looking at a resource that is considered
one of the greatest information products ever produced
when it comes to the training and development of young
athletes.

 

Complete Athlete Development has been field tested on
more than 15,000 young athletes worldwide and changed
the lives of countless Coaches, Trainers and Parents.

 

I’ve been coaching for 13 years now.

 

Not one major injury suffered to a single athlete
yet.

 

Could be chance.

 

Maybe I’m just lucky.

 

Or perhaps there’s some stuff about injury prevention
that you need to know better?

 

Have a look at Complete Athlete Development and find out –

 

http://www.developingathletics.com/cad-short-copy.html

 

Over 3.5 million young athletes will get injured playing sports
this year in the United States alone.

 

Tragic but largely preventable.

 

Give CAD a try –

 

http://www.developingathletics.com/cad-short-copy.html

 

 

‘Till next time,

 

Brian