While playing sports can be a great way to get some exercise, build your confidence, and have some fun, being physical also opens you up to the possibility of getting hurt. Especially if you’re playing a sport when you’ll be making physical contact with other players, the chances of you getting some kind of serious injury to your brain or other parts of your body can be pretty high.
To help you avoid these types of injuries and keep yourself as safe as possible, here are three ways to protect yourself when playing contact sports.
Don’t Play When You’re Hurt
You don’t have to be playing in a game or even coming in contact with other players to get hurt while playing sports. So no matter how you may have sustained some kind of injury, if you do happen to get hurt in one way or another, Dr. Sarah E. Gibson, a contributor to KidsHealth.org, advises that you don’t continue playing until you’re healthy again.
When you’re hurt or sick, you make yourself so much more vulnerable to further injuring yourself as you play. So what may have been something small could easily turn into a bigger injury that could keep you from playing for a very long time. So while you may want to play through the pain, if you’ve been hurt, it’s best to sit out for a while until you’re better.
Wear The Right Gear
For sports that require physical contact, and even those where physical contact may happen but isn’t necessarily part of the game, there’s usually special gear or equipment that you can wear to keep yourself safe. If there is, you should be sure to always wear this gear whenever you’re playing or practicing.
The most important piece of gear to wear during contact sports is a helmet. So if you’re playing anything like hockey, baseball, lacrosse, football, or you’re into skiing, snowboarding, cycling, or skating, the CDC recommends that you wear a helmet that fits you well and will give your head adequate protection in the event of a collision or a fall.
Give Your Body A Break
Not only can playing while you’re hurt be a bad idea for the longevity of your body, but playing or practicing too much can actually cause you to develop different kinds of injuries or make you more susceptible to getting injured when competing.
Because of this, Elizabeth Quinn, a contributor to Very Well Fit, recommends that you give your body a break so that you’re not working too hard every day. Ideally, you should try not to practice or play too many days in a row, as resting can help your body recover and even help you get stronger once you come back.
If you or someone you love plays a contact sport, consider using the tips mentioned above to stay safe out there.