Baystate Massage, LLC

Summer Can Be a Dangerous Time for Athletes

During the summer months high school and college athletes are left pretty much on their own when it comes to conditioning. Many athletes want to gain weight, add muscle, and get faster so they join gyms and fitness centers tha t promise results.

Unfortunately, many of these establishments do not do functional assessments, postural assessments, educate about hydration and nutrition and, for the most part, just put athletes together in big groups while they do squats, cleans and other heavy lifting.

I see 10-15 athletes a week suffering from pulled muscles, muscle spasms, often caused be dehydration from lifting in non-air conditioned warehouse gyms, and tight, sore muscles.

I find athletes who are out of alignment, often with one leg shorter than the other. I see athletes with poor posture and lack of range of motion. Both of these issues cause injury.

During the off-season, usually summer, athletes should be focused on improving their weaknesses. The problem is most of them don't even know which muscles or groups of muscles are weak. They have no idea about the Kinetic Chain. therefore a baseball pitcher may think his shoulder and arm should be the focus of his lifting. Yet, his hips, calves, and ankles also play a huge role in pitching.

If you are a parent of an athlete talk with them. Ask them about their routines; how much water they drink during the workout, what educational tidbits are offered, and observe their posture. Is your athlete exhausted when he returns home? What did he or she eat before and after the workout? Athletes need to eat wholesome carbohydrates and protein within 30 minutes of a workout. Keep them away from supplements. A glass of chocolate milk and an apple make a great snack.

As a parent, you can help your athlete stay healthy by learning how best to support him or her during the summer months.