Summer Sports To Prevent Injury Published July 15, 2014 By Staff Sgt. Candice C. Page Headquarters Air Combat Command LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. -- Children and adults should properly prepare and ease into summer sports such as basketball, track and field, football, golf or soccer to prevent injuries. "As it starts to get warmer outside Airmen begin to play more sports before they are properly conditioned for the sport," said Tony Arroyo exercise physiologist 633rd Aerospace Medicine Squadron. "It is very important for an individual to stay physically fit throughout the year and progress gradually, make sure you don't go too hard too soon." Sprains, strains, twists, knee injuries, muscle tears, tendon tears and foot fractures are among the most common types of injuries. As Arroyo mentioned these are due to people over doing it before they are ready. Arroyo says having a strong core and good functional type movements are very important to help prevent sports related injuries. "I advise athletes to do a full body strength training program with functional type movements, such as squats, lunges, pushing exercises, pulling exercises and core exercises at least two days a week." Following these additional tips can also help prevent injuries: · Exercise Regularly · Drink plenty of water (avoid sports drinks) · Progress Gradually · Always warm up/cool down · Take Breaks · Wear the right gear · Use the proper technique · Play safe. Follow the rules · Stop the activity if there is pain · Wear all personal protective equipment · Be prepared for the activity · Know when to rest or stop · Acquire the Training · Gradually increase Time and Intensity · Listen to your body According to U.S. Air Force Safety Center, during the years 2009-2013, there were 2,468 sport injuries on-duty and 1,628 sports injuries off-duty. The Air Force also spent more than $168 million to treat these injuries. It is imperative for athletes to seek medical attention immediately when injured. "If you have a minor injury and do not take care of it at that time, that minor injury can get worst and your body may begin to overcompensate because you are injured on one side," said Arroyo. Arroyo reminds athletes to be smart, take care of injuries right away, stay off the field, recover completely and then get back into activity. For more information on sport injury prevention, visit your installation's Health and Wellness Center or Fitness Center.