Each week during football season, Dozens of college and pro players have serious injuries each week during football season. But that should not scare you away from having fun on the football field. Here are some tips on playing it safe.

Weekend Warriors

Football is a game that is tough on the body. Even those who play touch football are running hard and having collisions.

If you have not been working out to stay in shape, then you are more likely to get hurt. Things like shoulder injuries, overuse injuries, and concussions are common in football. Recreational football players also tend to have more muscle-related problems, like over-stretched or pulled muscles. This is often from doing too much, too quickly. Delayed onset muscles soreness is common a day or two after playing.

Stay in Playing Shape

You can lower your risk of injury by getting your body ready to play. Focus on strength and flexibility during the off-season with aerobic activities, strength activities, and endurance activities to stay in shape.

Beyond basic fitness, doing sport-specific drills can help. Try sprints and drills that include lateral movement. Warm up with some light aerobic activity before you do any drills, though. There is no point in getting hurt while you are training to lower the risk injury.

Game Day

Get your heart rate up on game day with some light aerobic activity. Then, add a little harder running to get your legs warmed up and ready to go.

Weather

Your chances of injury are greater in certain weather conditions. In rainy, sloppy weather, you are more likely to fall or slip and pull something. If it is winter, then the ground will be hard and you will feel the fall even more.

Tips

Playing any sport leaves you at risk to get hurt. But that is no reason not to play. Here are some tips to make the game a little safer:

  • Stay away from hard surfaces.
  • If you wear glasses, make sure they are strapped on.
  • Do not play with a leg brace. —It could hurt someone else. If you must wear a brace, make sure it is covered with padding.
  • Think about wearing arm pads. —Some players who know they will be doing light blocking use arm pads.
  • Warm up well. —Make sure you warm up or the hard running, sprinting, and direction changes are going to hurt.
  • Wear protective equipment —Things like a helmet, pads, shoes, athletic supporters (males), and mouthguards can help protect you from injury.

Football is a great way to get some activity in every week. You can keep yourself in the game all season with common sense and some basic training.

RESOURCES:

American College of Sports Medicine
http://www.acsm.org

American Society of Exercise Physiologists
http://www.asep.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology
http://www.csep.ca

Health Canada
http://www.canada.ca

REFERENCES:

Preventing football injuries. Stop Sports Injuries website. Available at: http://www.stopsportsinjuries.org/football-injury-prevention.aspx#types. Accessed June 24, 2021.

Safety tips: football. Nemours' KidsHealth website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/teen/safety/sports_safety/safety_football.html. Accessed June 24, 2021.

Last reviewed June 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board  Last Updated: 6/24/2021