Intramural college sports are a very important part of life for many college students. Intramural sports help college students meet new friends, stay active, and continue interests they may have started in high school or middle school. As fun and beneficial as intramural collegiate sports can be, safety should always be the top priority during practices and games. Many college students have experienced injuries, some of them serious; and in some extreme and sad cases even fatalities have occurred.
Safety is very important during college sports, so here are a few tips to make sure you stay safe on the playing field no matter what sport you play.
Plan for an Emergency
There should always be a plan in case of an emergency. Coaches and other players and staff should be trained in CPR, the use of an AED, and basic first aid. Phones should be available for calling the EMS if needed. AEDs and first aid kit should be readily available during all practices and games. Players and organizers should have a plan in place and should remain levelheaded during an emergency.
Warm Ups and Cool Downs
As with any other vigorous exercise it is important to warm up and cool down before and after practices and games. Warming up will loosen up the muscles and increase blood flow, which decreases the chance of injury. Stretching will also decrease the chance of injury. Cooling down after practices and games helps the body return to a resting state by slowly decreasing heart rate and respirations. Stretching can decrease soreness.
Proper Equipment and Clothing
Make sure you have the proper equipment for your sport. Inspect safety gear such as helmets, pads, or mouth guards to ensure they are intact and working properly. Safety gear that is not in working condition can lead to serious injuries such as a concussion or broken bones. Make sure sports equipment like baseball bats or hockey sticks are in good repair. Wear appropriate clothing for weather condition if your sport takes place outside. Layering clothing is always a good idea for cooler weather. If you will be playing or practicing in warmer weather make sure to wear breathable type clothing.
Whether your sport is indoors or outdoors, always make sure the conditions are safe. If your sport is played outside, pay attention to the weather. Sometimes weather conditions such as extreme heat or lightening may warrant canceling a game or practice or moving indoors.
Drinking enough water during any type of exercise, especially on warmer days is imperative to safety. Dehydration, heat stroke, and heat exhaustion can happen very quickly and can be a medical emergency. Drinking plenty of water or sports drinks can help to combat all three of these dangerous conditions. Dehydration can occur faster than you would think and faster than you can realize when you are active.
Exercise and practice are very important parts of any sport. It is important to be dedicated, to stay fit and to gain skills specific to your sport. However, resting and having time off are equally as important. Many overuse injuries occur when athletes fail to rest or take needed time off. As with anything else in life, there must be an appropriate balance of practice and exercise, as well as rest and relaxation.
Intramural college sports should be fun and engaging. If you have a safety concern be sure to bring it to the attention of your coach of other league official. If you believe you have suffered an injury, seek medical attention. Proper care of a sustained injury can have you back on the playing field sooner. Following these safety tips cannot guarantee there will not be any injuries, but can significantly reduce the risk. When it comes to intramural college sports, always remember the old clichŽ of safety first.
Sarah Daren writes articles related to health. In this article, she offers safety tips to students partaking in college sports and aims to encourage further study through online radiology programs.