As reported by the Norwich Bulletin, July 23, 2008.

Injury Prevention Tips from UConn Health Center Sports Medicine Physician

Farmington, Conn. — Sports medicine experts recommend athletes and coaches become familiar with the dangers of overexertion in the heat, as it’s still summer when many fall sports have tryouts and practices. Rigorous activity in hot conditions can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke, especially for football players practicing in helmets and pads, because full gear makes it harder for the body to get rid of the heat, says Thomas Trojian, M.D., director of the Injury Prevention and Sports Outreach programs at the University of Connecticut Health Center’s New England Musculoskeletal Institute.

“The key to avoiding heat injury is making sure you get acclimated to the heat, getting outside and working out in the heat under safe conditions, taking multiple breaks, and making sure you stay hydrated,” Trojian says. “When exercising in the heat, the general recommendation is to drink 16 ounces of water an hour before, 8 ounces every 20 minutes during, and 16 ounces after.”

Concussions are another concern, particularly in football. Jarring of the skull or a blow that turns the head can result in a concussion. This type of head injury is more common in adolescents than adults. Being "knocked out" is easy to recognize as a concussion, but players with concussions often maintain consciousness. The player may suffer from headache, dizziness, "seeing stars," and memory problems. Athletes are urged to recognize the symptoms, get off the field and tell their coach.

"Before returning to activity, you should be seen by a health care practitioner experienced in concussions," Trojian says. "Most head injury symptoms resolve in a half-hour, but that doesn't mean return to play in a half-hour. The recommendations are for a high school player who suffers a head injury to stay off the field the rest of the day. This may cause some athletes to keep quiet about a head injury, which is unfortunate because new research suggests long-lasting or even deadly consequences if a player returns too soon.”

When it comes to leg and foot injuries, soccer players in particular can benefit from a dynamic warm-up routine known as “The 11.” FIFA, soccer’s international governing body, developed the routine.

“Dynamic warmups mean with movement, versus static or sitting stretches,” Trojian says. “The key is starting early, giving yourself time to get into shape and to work on doing the 11. It’s important not to try to start that two days before the first practice or tryout. You’re getting little benefit then.”

A full description of “The 11” is available at http://www.fifa.com/aboutfifa/developing/medical/the11/index.html.

More information about sports medicine at the UConn Health Center’s New England Musculoskeletal Institute is available at http://nemsi.uchc.edu/clinical_services/orthopaedic/sportsmedicine/index.html.