Reposted from: news.ufl.edu
GAINESVILLE — University of Florida researchers studying football injuries at more than a dozen high schools have a message for coaches who want to keep players in the game: Hit the weight room.
MaryBeth Horodyski, an assistant professor with UF’s department of exercise and sports sciences, said a three-year study of athlete injuries shows that players who follow a controlled strength-training program reduce their chances of suffering from severe injuries.
Seventy-eight percent of severe injuries to the upper body struck non-lifting athletes, or those students who were not in a controlled weight-lifting program, Horodyski said. And non-lifting athletes accounted for 64 percent of those with severe injuries to the lower body.
“These are very significant numbers,” said Horodyski, director of athletic training education at UF. “The bottom line is, those kids who did strength training typically did not have as severe injuries. They more often had mild or moderate injuries.”
Certified athletic trainers from UF are assigned to 13 high schools in north Central Florida along with physicians from Shands hospital at UF. The study’s data includes 887 injuries to football players over the three-year span, allowing scientists to look at strength training and its effect on injuries. Researchers also examined injury incidence for spring football vs. fall football and other factors relating to sports injuries.
Researchers defined a mild injury as anything that kept a player out of practice or a game for seven days or less. Downtime for a moderate injury was seven to 21 days, and a severe injury kept a player out of action for more that 21 days.
“The take-home message for coaches is, they need to implement a well-structured strength-training program for their players throughout the entire season,” Horodyski said. “It won’t cut down on the total number of injuries, but time loss goes down drastically if the injuries are not severe.”
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