Northwestern Memorial Sports Medicine On Hand For Gold Cup Soccer Tournament
Physicians offer tips on injury prevention to all levels of athletes
Thousands of soccer fans will converge on Soldier Field this weekend to cheer on their teams during one of soccer’s premier events, the CONCACAF Gold Cup matches. As the intense head to head battles bring soccer fans around the world to the edge of their seats, two Northwestern Memorial sports medicine experts will be on hand ready to jump in at the first sign of injury.
Orthopaedic surgeon and spine injury expert, Srdjan Mirkovic, MD, and sports medicine expert Adam Bennett, MD, will take a front-line role in tending to the athletes’ injuries. “Soccer is a major contact sport and one of the leaders in sports injuries. Our job is to provide optimal care to some of the world’s top athletes and get them back on the field ready to compete,” said Mirkovic.
Northwestern Memorial Hospital serves as a treatment center for many athletes, and the hospital’s orthopaedics program was ranked as number 22 in the nation in the 2009 U.S. News & World Report's America’s Best Hospitals list.
While the physicians have been involved with the care of several of Chicago’s professional sports teams, the same basic rules that apply to top athletes apply to recreational athletes as well. The physicians offer several tips to prevent injury on and off the playing field.
- Warm Up and Cool Down. Choose a five to 10 minute warm-up activity that targets the muscles you’ll be using during your workout to gradually rev up your cardiovascular system, increase blood flow to your muscles and raise your body temperature. Similarly, do cool down exercises for five to 10 minutes after a vigorous workout to slowly reduce the temperature of your muscles and help reduce muscle injury, stiffness and soreness.
- Stretch. Stretching can increase flexibility in addition to helping prevent injury, improve circulation and relieve stress. Focus on major muscle groups such as your calves, thighs, hips, lower back, neck and shoulders. Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds, and up to 60 seconds for a really tight muscle or problem area; it takes time to lengthen tissues safely. Avoid bouncing while stretching, which can cause small tears in the muscle, leaving you less flexible and more prone to pain.
- Don’t overdo it. Start slow and build up your endurance by increasing your level of activity. If you are just getting started with a workout routine, even a brisk walk is a great way to get your body moving and get some exercise. No matter what your activity, be sure to scale back if you feel overly tired or sore.
- Stay Hydrated. The more you exercise, the more fluid you’ll need to keep your body hydrated. Be sure to drink one or two extra cups of water to accommodate excess perspiration. When exercising thirty minutes or more supplement the water with a sports drink.
The physicians emphasize that all athletes need to listen to their bodies, and seek medical attention immediately for any injuries or atypical symptoms.