How To Keep Your Brain Safe Playing Contact Sports
Countless people of all ages and backgrounds enjoy playing sports, and some of the most fun and exciting games of all – like football or hockey – tend to involve at least some contact between players.
These kinds of contact sports can be thrilling to participate in, but they can be quite dangerous too. A single collision between two players or a badly timed tackle can lead to some very nasty injuries, especially where the brain is concerned.
Concussions and traumatic brain injuries can be highly damaging. The brain stem, for example, controls basic bodily functions which can become impaired when injuries occur, while other parts of the brain are responsible for things like memory, reasoning, and emotions.
Statistics and surveys show that a high percentage of children and younger adults play sports, and even among those who are a little older, around 1 in 4 still play sports on a regular basis. If you’re one of them, here are some top tips to protect your brain and reduce the risk of game-related injuries.
Clearly, one of the most important and obvious tips when it comes to protecting your head while playing contact sports is wearing a helmet. Decades ago, helmets weren’t really associated with sports, and even professional players used to take to fields, courts, and ice rinks without any kind of head protection at all. Fortunately, times have changed.
These days, you can find state of the art, high grade helmets that offer superior protection for the head during a range of different sports. These helmets really can make the difference, helping players avoid life-altering head and brain injuries during their favorite sports. Make sure you invest in a good quality helmet that fits you perfectly and don’t rely on a simple hand-me-down.
Another simple and efficient way to reduce your risk of damaging head injuries is to make sure you’re fully aware of the rules and follow them all the way. The rules exist for a reason. It’s not just about making sure that the game flows smoothly and leads to a fair result; it’s also about making sure that every player stays safe and has a good time.
This tip is especially important for younger players and children. If your kids are joining up with a soccer club, for example, it’s important that they understand the rules of the game before taking to the field in order to reduce their risks of suffering an injury or injuring someone else by making a mistake or doing something they shouldn’t.
Following on from the previous point, it’s also recommended to follow the standards of good sportsmanship when trying to enjoy your favorite sports in a way that keeps yourself and others safe. For example, when playing football, players should know the right times to make a tackle and not give in to any anger or negative emotions that could lead to them hurting someone else.
As well as following the rules, you should also respect your opponents and teammates, treating everyone fairly, and simply trying to enjoy the game, win or lose. Some players have a tendency to bend the rules or play unfairly if they think it might give them an edge, but this can be very risky behavior.
Another top tip for helping to prevent brain injuries related to sport, as well as other sports injuries and strains too, is to make sure you always warm up before a game. Stretching and moving around a little before hitting the field is a great way to get both your body and mind prepared for the action.
It’s also wise to focus on your own physical fitness and lifestyle choices in order to enjoy a positive experience while playing sports. Many games require a reasonable level of fitness, and if you aren’t in the best of shape, you might be more likely to get hurt. Eating a balanced diet and exercising often can help you keep up with the demands of the game.
Playing sports can be a lot of fun, and it’s easy to see why so many Americans participate in games like football on a regular basis with their friends. However, every player must acknowledge the fact that they face some real risks when stepping out onto the field of play. Make sure you’re ready to deal with those risks by taking the proper preventative action, as listed in the tips above.