Groin Injury

Causes

A groin injury is caused by some muscles in the groin being contracted or stretched with too much force. Often a player will notice their groin getting tight if they are doing a lot of kicking. Another way a groin injury can occur is if the muscle is used too much without it being stretched out. It is very important to get a good stretch done before exercise to counteract this.

Groin strains are graded with numbers 1,2 and 3 depending on how serious it is. 1 is a small bit of pain with minor damage, 2 is bruising and a bit of pain while 3 is a severe tear causing a lot of pain.

Treatment

The sooner a groin strain is treated the better. Studies show that the first 24-48 hours are crucial to get the recovery started. Applying an ice pack to the affected area straight away is the first step. This will help to stop swelling. Relaxing and not using the muscle too often can also help with recovery.

There are also a number of exercises an injured player can do once they are able to in order to strengthen the muscle. By strengthening the muscle it will reduce the chance of the injury happening again.

Prevention

Before doing any exercise all of the muscles should be warmed up and ready to go. In this case doing a light warm up and getting the groin area stretched is essential to prevent a possible injury.

Also wearing compression shorts have been seen to help keep muscles feeling fresh after exercise. The shorts hold muscles in place while aid with blood flow to the muscles.

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Cruciate Injury

Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury

An Interior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury is starting to become a very common injury in sports in Ireland. A cruciate injury happens when the ligament becomes stretched, torn or strained. The most common one is a complete tear which is very painful. Usually there will be a popping sound which leads to swelling of the knee straight away.

This sort of injury occurs after an awkward fall, quick change in direction, stopping suddenly or direct contact to the knee. This will also lead to knee instability as the ligament is no longer able to stabilize the knee joint.

There are a lot of top inter county players in the GAA who have gone through this injury recently. Henry Shefflin, Bernard Brogan, Colm Cooper and Jack McCaffrey are just a few of them. Even with all of the top class physios, training and advice available to these players, this injury can still occur. There is no real way to prevent it but you can make the muscle around it stronger to try decrease the chance of it occurring.

Recovery

In most cases surgery is required in order to reconstruct the ACL. The torn ACL is replaced with a tendon from another source. Just earlier this year Tom Parsons the Mayo midfielder suffered an ACL injury. He has come out and said that he has numerous body parts of his own in his knee, such as hamstring and quad ligaments. He also has someone else’s Achilles ligament in his knee.

It can take up to 6 months for an athlete to get back on the pitch after an ACL injury. They need to regain their sense of balance and control over the knee to help stop a second cruciate injury from happening. A lot of physio is needed in order for this to happen.

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Stretching/ Yoga

Stretching

Stretching is the deliberate lengthening of muscles in order to increase muscle flexibility and range of motion

Stretching is one of the most important things to do before exercise. It is very important to stretch all of the muscle groups that will be used. Stretching muscles before exercise gets them warmed up and ready to go. It also decreases the chances of injury and muscle soreness.

There are a number of different benefits to stretching, some of them include;

Improved Circulation

Stretching helps to increase the blood flow to muscles. By increasing blood flow this helps to flush waste out of the tissue in muscles. This can help to boost your recovery time and to decrease risk of injury.

Improved Posture

By stretching regularly and with the correct form this can improve posture greatly. It helps to loosen muscles, as tight muscles often lead to poor posture.

Encourages Muscle Growth

Finally, another benefit is that it increases blood flow which helps deliver essential nutrients. It also decreases the build up of lactic acid which can lead to injury soreness and fatigue.

Yoga

Yoga is becoming more and more popular between sports teams these days. This is because it is so beneficial to anyone playing sports. Mobility and movement will increase a lot after a few weeks of doing yoga. There are a lot of different benefits that are associated with partaking in it.

Builds Muscle Strength

By doing yoga do build strength with flexibility. Yoga encourages muscle growth by increasing blood flow to all different muscles in the body. It also increases red blood cells levels which carry oxygen to the tissues. This increases chance of muscle growth.

Improves Balance

By doing yoga regularly boosts balance massively. Most knee and ankle injuries happen as a result of poor balance. For most of the top sportspeople balance is one of the most important attributes. An hour or two of yoga a week can help someone to improve performance greatly.

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Swimming

Swimming can be a great way to help with recovery from injuries and also to prevent them. It can prevent injuries by strengthening muscles from the water providing a little resistance.

Benefits

There are a number of different benefits to swimming including relieving stress and burning fat.  A lot of different strokes can be used depending on what muscle you’re trying to strengthen. Most of the strokes will use all of the muscles in the body. The breaststroke, backstroke, butterfly and freestyle will all use up a lot of different areas of the body.

Swimming also boosts the cardiovascular system by making the heart and lungs stronger. It is now a common thing for football teams to have a swimming session during the week along with the gym and field sessions.

Usually a session in the pool would be most beneficial just after a game or training. This is when the muscles will be quite sore.  A swim in the pool will allow the muscles to recover quickly. By doing a few lengths, you will be using all of the muscles in your body. This helps the body to not only recover but to strengthen muscles at the same time.

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Foam Rolling

Foam Rollers

By foam rolling, athletes and fitness enthusiasts can instantly improve their workouts or performances and decrease their risk of injury. You can get a lot of the same benefits from a foam roller as you can get from a sports massage. It is also at a much cheaper price and from the comfort of your own home.

Benefits

There are a number of different benefits of foam rolling, some of them include;

1.Increased Blood Flow

By doing foam rolling exercises, it helps to stretch and loosen out muscles. By applying pressure to soft tissue areas it allows the blood to flow more freely. Carrying nutrients like oxygen and glycogen to tired muscles.

2. Improved Movements

Foam rolling helps to loosen out muscles and allows them to move past one another without friction. A player will feel a lot less stiff after using a foam roller and as a result this helps them to perform better.

3. Decreased Injury Risk

Another big benefit is that rolling will help an athlete to stay injury free. Circulation is improved as a result of it so this in turn provides a better range of motion. Staying injury free is one of the biggest challenges for players these days, so foam rolling is essential.

4. Increased Recovery Time

After a training session muscles become fatigued and a build of lactic acid occurs. Foam rolling helps to tackle this and get rid of it. It leaves the muscles feeling a lot fresher the next day.

Ice Baths/ Cryotherapy

Ice Baths

Ice baths are becoming more and more common for sportspeople. They are used after a workout or session to help aid recovery. They are designed to reduce inflammation and promote healing in joints and muscles. By sitting in an ice bath up to the hips it can greatly increase the recovery time on muscles. It constricts blood vessels and reduces swelling and tissue breakdown. As a result muscles are not as sore in the days after.

Benefits

There are a number of benefits to sportspeople using ice baths for recovery. This is why most GAA teams in Ireland are now using them. An ice bath or a dip in the sea are becoming more and more popular. Some of the benefits include;

Speeds up Recovery

A quick dip into the ice bath after a tough session will leave the body feeling a lot better the next morning. The muscles will be a lot less sore and this will leave an athlete ready and able to take part in physical activity quicker. It also can treat a large area of the body faster than what an ice pack could.

Reduces Inflammation

Ice baths can also help with some specific injuries. For example, a sprained ankle can be treated straight away. The swelling will be counteracted by getting into an ice bath as soon as possible after it happens. This will reduce the pain in the ankle and also the recovery time.

Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy is a relatively new form of treatment for sore muscles. It involves stepping into a freezing cold chamber or tub for a few minutes. The benefits are similar to that of the Ice Baths but it also offers a couple of others such as;

Weight Loss

Pain Relief from Muscle and Joint ache

Reduce Inflammation.

Cryotherapy is very popular among professional sports teams across the world. It is quite expensive to use, which is why an ice bath might be more suited to someone not involved in a professional background.

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Hamstring Injury

Hamstring Injuries

One of the most common injuries in Gaelic Games in Ireland today is a pulled hamstring or a tore hamstring. This comes as a result of too much stress put on the muscle and not enough rest and recovery in between sessions or games. For an athlete to stay on top of their game they need to remain injury free.

These kinds of injuries usually happen when there is a lot of sprinting and changing direction quickly. The muscles become overworked and this results in one or more of the muscles in the hamstring becoming strained.

There are a number of things a player can be doing to prevent these injuries from occurring and to keep themselves injury free.

Ice Baths

After a tough training session which has a lot of running in it, it is important for an athlete to get the recovery process started straight away. Jumping into an ice bath for 10 minutes on and 10 minutes off twice is an ideal start to the process. This speeds up recovery after exercise by reducing temperature, blood flow and inflammation in tissues of the muscles. It will have the body feeling a lot fresher the next morning.

Foam Rolling

This is a very important step in preventing all sorts of injuries. An athlete should be foam rolling before their workout or session to loosen out muscles. Then this should be done again after the session to prevent lactic acid building up in the muscles.

Active Recovery

Finally, another way an athlete can prevent hamstring trouble is through stretching and active recovery. On days when there is no training a player or athlete should be doing some sort of exercise. Even a 15 minute walk or cycle will help to keep blood flowing through the muscles. This will help prevent lactic acid from building up.

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