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Healthy Habits to Maximize Your Chances of Playing College Sports

Amanda Muscatell 12 September 2017 It’s no secret that it’s hard to play college sports. Fewer than 7% of all high school athletes go on to play in college and even fewer go on to play in Division I 1. If you have the desire to play college sports and the requisite amount of ability, you can increase your chances of getting recruited by starting these healthy habits that will help you play all season.

Get Some Sleep

As it turns out sleep is not only important for your academic success but also your athletic success! Recent studies have shown that athletes who averaged less than 8 hours of sleep per night were almost twice as likely to sustain an injury than those who averaged greater than 8 hours of sleep per night.2

Listen to Your Body

If you have a nagging injury, don’t be afraid to get it checked out by your school’s athletic trainer. It’s far better to miss a few days of practice with a minor injury than to ignore it and later need surgery when it becomes a major injury. Think of an injury like a dartboard, it starts out in the bull’s eye and if ignored moves to outer layers becoming more and more damaging.

Never skip stretching

Contrary to popular belief, stretching doesn’t directly prevent injury, but rather increases your range of motion so that you can react more quickly to real-life injury situations like if you have to jump out of the way before someone falls on your ankle.3

Follow the 10% Rule

Temper your urge to get better through pushing your body too far past its limits with the 10% rule. By increasing your workload no more than 10% each week, you can greatly reduce your risk of overuse injuries, the #1 most common category of sports injuries.

Don’t Play the Same Sport Year Round

By playing the same sport year-round, your muscles never get a chance to fully rest and recover. Studies show that youth playing the same sport puts athletes at a much higher risk of injury, specifically a 50% higher chance of knee injuries.4

Related Blog Posts 

How to Reduce Your Risk of Overuse Injuries

   

Dale Grooms, ATC

About the Author

Dale Grooms, ATC, has served as the head athletic trainer at New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois since 2000. He was a contributing author on the NATA Secondary School Value Model and currently serves as the District 4 representative to the NATA’s Secondary School Athletic Trainers’ Committee. Dale has also authored or co-authored several NATA Now blog posts including “Your Own Sports Medicine Conference”, “Concussion Care Requires Communication” and “Helping ATs Help Transgender Students”.
Sources:
  1. https://www.ncaa.org/sites/default/files/Recruiting Fact Sheet WEB.pdf
  2. Milewski, M. D., & Skaggs, D. L. (2014). Chronic lack of sleep is associated with increased sports injuries in adolescent athletes. Journal of Pediatric Orthopedics, 34(2), 129-133. doi:10.1097/BPO.0000000000000151
  3. https://www.wsj.com/articles/does-stretching-prevent-injury-in-exercise-1417458228
  4. http://wexnermedical.osu.edu/mediaroom/pressreleaselisting/one-sport-focus-can-cause-health-issuesfor-young-athletes