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  • Jessie Mayo

Back to school - Back to sport

School is back in Australia and let's hope it is all smooth sailing this year. With the return to school comes the return to school sport and extra-curricular sports. The return to sport this year might feel a little different to past years given the turbulent year we had in 2020. It is important to keep in mind that it might feel different and modify your approach accordingly.

We saw a marked increase in soft tissue injuries when the professional AFL players returned from a long period of modified training and non-competition time. There was also a 300% increase in the rate of injuries sustained but a German soccer team post COVID-19 lockdown. Your or your child may be playing little league soccer but the risk of injury increases after a period of deloading, and my goodness was 2020 a year of deloading for some people.

It is not all doom and gloom, there are things you can do to help prevent return to sport injuries and keep you in the game and playing well.

  1. Make the return to sport gradual. Slow and steady. Increase by no more 10-20% of volume, intensity, duration each week. It is important to undertake pre-season training prior to competition in order to gradually increase the intensity of your activity prior to game day.

  2. Introduce one sport at time. Gradually add in sports to help allow the body to adapt and respond without overloading it.

  3. Plan rest and recovery time. Make sleep and nutrition a priority to ensure you allow your body to recover well and have the energy to continue to play and train.

  4. Listen to your body. Returning to sport following lockdown is going to be different to a normal period away from sport. It might be more mentally taxing. Listen to your body, as well as your mind and take your time.

  5. Get the niggles sorted as soon as possible. Starting back into training with that stiff calf is a recipe for disaster. See your health professional to address any areas of tightness, weakness or pain prior to training and they will be able to assist in preparing your body for training and competition.

We are all eager to get back to 'normal' life and 'normal' activities, however let's take it nice and slow and we will get there safely and injury free. Should you have any questions or need guidance in the safest way to return, get to your health professional as soon as you can.

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