If you saw a bus headed towards you, would you get out of the way? Not a trick question—I know I would! For many of you softballers, there's a figurative "bus" headed your way in the form of non-contact injuries. It's super easy to avoid these injuries if you know what to do, and today, we're going to cover the 5 signs that a non-contact "bus" is headed your way.
I'm confident you’ve gathered from our past posts: MOST injuries are non-contact, and ALL non-contact injuries are preventable.
Here's a startling statistic: Did you know that girls are over 3 times more likely to tear their ACL than boys? Moreover, over 70% of these ACL tears in female athletes are non-contact.
Let me make this clear: 70% of ACL tears are entirely preventable.
I could dive into why girls are more susceptible to ACL tears, but that's beside the point. What's crucial is understanding that these injuries can be prevented if we all grasp a few movement concepts.
Non-contact injuries essentially highlight movement problems in our kinetic chain. Continuous poor movement leads to wear and tear, much like how a misaligned car wheel causes its tire to wear out faster than it should. For an athlete, misalignment in movement places excessive strain on the muscles, joints, ligaments, and bones. A non-contact injury signals a significant movement dysfunction — so significant that the involved ligaments, bones, muscles, or joints couldn't endure the stress consistently placed on them... resulting in damage.
Initially, these movement issues may limit our performance, but eventually, they can lead to pain and injury. Let’s address them both for the sake of our performance and to minimize our risk of injury. Let's not to become a part of those high school injury statistics.
Our goal? Play softball! And evade that metaphorical bus. Here are telltale signs that it's bearing down on you:
#1. Visible Irregularities in Movement. That quirky way you throw or run, or perhaps you're the one who can't squat properly. You might brush it off or make a self-deprecating joke, but it's crucial that you recognize and address it as a problem.
#2. Chronic Aches and Pains. This is your body signaling that you're stressing certain tissues — tissues that might not be conditioned or even designed to bear such loads. Yes, that's an issue.
#3. Consistent Issues with Correct Technique. You've tried and tried to correct a technique but no matter how hard you work you can't fix it. It's probably a movement issue!
#4. Imbalance in Strength. Perhaps you can do a pistol squat on your right leg but struggle with the left. Strength imbalances like this are a signal that there's movement dysfunction somewhere.
#5. Unequal Mobility. Maybe your left arm can reach way up your back, nearly to your shoulder blades, while your right only gets to your beltline. Or perhaps you can do the splits on one side but not the other. These asymmetries indicate issues.
Some movement limitations are visible, while others might be felt rather than seen. We need to educate ourselves to recognize these discrepancies and develop a proactive strategy to address our movement deficiencies.
In the next post, I'll guide you through several steps to help you enhance your movement, optimize your performance, and steer clear of becoming another injury statistic. Let's "avoid the bus," so to speak.