The Learning Process
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Injury Prevention of Athletes

Participating in Sports Requires Courage
       There is real pain when an athlete falls even when they are not seriously hurt. Sports like football, boxing, and ice hockey are described as "contact" sports for good reason. However, falling on a ski slope, off a balance beam, not sticking a gymnastics landing, or in a multi-revolution jump, lift, or throw in figure skating - all involve the potential for serious accidents involving concussions and broken bones.

Learning by Doing
        Do you ever assumed that you can prevent someone from committing the same error you have done? It takes a lot of restraint to keep from telling them "Don't expect any sympathy from me, I just warned you not to do that and you did it anyway!" 

        Frequently committing a mistake or poor decision in sports result in a painful bruise or pulled muscle. This may discourage some individuals to chose another sport with less physical contact. The athlete who instead of fearing mistakes, learns to embrace errors will be able to move forward and acquire advanced skills. The possibility of injury is not usually a consideration, especially in young athletes who generally lack the comprehension of physical danger and if they do understand the possibility of injury do not believe it will happen to them.

Hindsight may Prevent Others from Experiencing the same Problems from Occurring
       Some individuals express their belief that when it come to making poor or bad decisions, "What doesn't kill you, will make you a better person!"

       A better adage is "It better to learn from the mistakes of others than to duplicate their poor judgment." Accepting that everyone makes mistakes is not a reason to excuse making avoidable mistakes, especially when someone has repeatedly suggested that you are headed for trouble.

       It is not necessarily true that the best way to learn is from your own mistakes. You can only learn from a mistake if you are able to admit you've made an error in judgment.  Accepting responsibility of your mistake is an acquired trait that starts with little mistakes that don't actually cause any damage or harm and can be relative easy to deal with.

       If you are unable to accept your own errors then you are unlikely to be accept the mistakes of others.

The risk of Injury
       Any type of physical activity carries with it the risk of causing an injury to yourself and to others. Injuries can occur because you lack the skills or quality of equipment necessary for the type of activity. This is preventable if better judgment was used. The proper preparation and the use of common sense can reduce the probability of an exercise injury.  

       It is impossible to acquire good decision making skills if someone else is always making decisions. The most difficult parenting skills is allowing children to make simple mistakes and then treating the mistake as a learning opportunity. Many common childhood behaviors, decisions and actions are associated with some risk.

       There is an increased likelihood that mistakes are likely to happen in things that are outside of their comfort zone. Sometimes there is peer pressure associated with making poor decisions involving drinking, cheating, and sexual encounters. Being in new circumstances provides an opportunity to trying out the freedom to make good choices as well as poor choices. It is a little scary to be held responsible for your decisions, but it is part of growing up and acquiring the skills of being an adult.

Risk Aversion
The  personality of each individual influences if they are willing or adverse to the possibility of looking foolish when attempting to learn new physical skills in from of their peers. In some cases there is a fear of being hurt or injured that is associated with participating in activities like dodge ball, rope climbing, boxing, diving, etc.

       Does gender produce any difference in risk aversion and competition? Are women naturally more risk averse or less inclined to enter a competitive situation? Does our culture influence if women and men might have different preferences or risk attitudes?  Male children are encouraged to take risks and act competitively when participating in sports, and girls are often encouraged to remain "lady like" and less aggressive. The choices made by boys and girls could be due to the nurturing received from parents or peers.

       In schools restricted to either one sex or the other, there may be a more favorable environment for gender identity to develop and be expressed in academic and sports achievement. In a coeducational environment, girls and boys are confronted with adolescent attractiveness to members of the opposite sex.

       If competitive behavior or risk avoidance is viewed as being a part of female gender identity while risk seeking is a part of male gender identity, then a coeducational school environment might lead girls to make less competitive and risky choices than boys. Refer to Gender, risk, and Competition Differences

      The following materials are from Health and medical information provided by the Victorian government (Australia).

Physical activity - it's important

Physical activity - choosing the one for you

Risk factors
       Some types of physical activity involve specific injury risks, but general risk factors include:
  • Lack of fitness
  • Inexperience or poor technique (‘form’)
  • Failure to wear protective equipment
  • Certain maneuvers, such as sudden movements or changing direction at speed
  • High-impact or high-risk activities
  • Contact between players
  • Over training.

General health and fitness

       Suggestions include:
  • Have a medical check-up before you begin if you a medical condition, are overweight, are aged over 40 years or haven't exercised regularly for a long time.
  • Exercise regularly to keep yourself in good physical condition.
  • Eat a balanced, nutritional diet.
  • Drink plenty of water before, during and after activity.
  • Avoid exercise when in pain or fatigued.
  • Don't do high-risk activities if you've been drinking alcohol or have taken other drugs that may affect your physical or mental state.
Be prepared
       Remember to:
  • Choose activities that are suited to your abilities and fitness level.
  • Understand the requirements of your chosen activity such as the rules of your sport, how to use equipment, and specific training or warm-up techniques.
  • Learn, practice and use correct skills and techniques. You may consider consulting a coach to help you devise a program to suit you.
  • Dress for the conditions to protect against cold (wet suit, thermal gear) and avoid heat stress (loose light-colored clothing, layers).
  • Be SunSmart. Protect your skin from ultraviolet (UV) radiation and sun damage. Wear a hat, suitable clothing and Australian Standard approved sunglasses. Apply 30+ water-resistant sunscreen to all exposed areas of skin and reapply regularly.
Avoid dehydration and heat stress
       Dehydration reduces exercise performance and increases the risk of heat related illness. It can cause cramping of the muscles. Make sure you have adequate hydration and sun protection in hot and humid conditions to avoid the risk of injury.

Warm up and cool down
       Warming up before exercise helps to loosen muscles, increase blood flow and prepare your whole body for exercise. Cooling down helps the whole body recover from exercise. There is some proof that warming up and cooling down can (slightly) reduce muscle soreness after exercise. Warming up has also been shown to improve performance during exercise.

       Suggestions include:
  • Warm up gently and slowly for 10 minutes or more before you begin your exercise.
  • A light jog that gradually increases in intensity is a great warm-up exercise. Other options include cycling or going for a brisk walk.
  • In cooler temperatures, a longer warm-up might be necessary.
  • Cool down after sport. This could involve another light jog or perhaps a lighter form of exercise – such as slow swimming or cycling.
Check environment and equipment safety
       Hard or uneven surfaces, obstructions or barriers, rough terrain and extreme weather conditions are just some of the environmental factors that can increase the risk of falls, knocks and other exercise hazards. Poorly maintained equipment presents a further hazard.

Suggestions include:
  • Check and maintain the exercise area and playing surface. Remove or cover hazardous objects and make sure surrounds are safe.
  • Check weather and conditions before undertaking outdoor activities.
  • Check, maintain and replace equipment.
  • Be aware of potential unknown hazards such as motor vehicles or animals.
  • Make sure children are supervised at all times by a responsible adult.
  • Make sure qualified first aid personnel, first aid kits and emergency contact numbers are available at all times (where appropriate).
Wear the right gear
       Suggestions include:
  • Always use the proper equipment and safety gear for the type of exercise you plan to do.
  • Examples of safety gear designed to protect you during exercise include helmets, mouthguards, protective eyewear, shoes, shin-guards, wrist-guards, elbow and knee pads, gloves, athletic cups and padding.
  • Make sure your gear is the correct size, fits well, is approved by the organization governing the sport and is properly maintained.
If an injury occurs
       If you or someone else is injured:
  • Stop exercise immediately to help prevent any further damage.
  • Seek first aid or prompt medical treatment from qualified personnel. This is important for all injuries – no matter how severe (or seemingly insignificant) the injury is.
  • Don't resume exercise until you are completely recovered from any injury.
After injury
       If you are injured, don't try to keeping going. A ‘no pain, no gain’ attitude risks making the injury worse and may delay or prevent your return due to a chronic, recurring injury. Give your body time to heal to minimize long-term damage. Consult with a health professional (such as a physiotherapist) before restarting exercise after injury – they can work with you to plan your safe return to activity.

Different attitudes about stretching to prevent injury
       Stretching, warming up and cooling down were previously thought to aid injury prevention during exercise. However, there is not a lot of evidence that these activities are effective in reducing exercise injury risk.

       However, warming up and cooling down might help to reduce muscle soreness after exercise, even if they don't prevent injuries. Gentle stretching can be included as part of your overall warm-up and cool-down routine. Some people also find psychological benefits in stretching and warming up to put them in the right frame of mind for exercise or to help them relax after exercise.

       The best ways to avoid injury during exercise are to wear appropriate protective gear, understand the rules and requirements of the activity, avoid exercising when fatigued or in pain, make sure you have adequate hydration and sun protection, and exercise on properly prepared playing surfaces.

Where to get help
  • Your doctor
  • Physiotherapist
  • Sports physician

Things to remember
  • The best ways to avoid injury during exercise are to wear the right gear, understand the requirements of your activity, avoid exercising when fatigued or in pain, have adequate hydration and sun protection, and exercise on properly prepared surfaces.
  • Warming up before exercise can help reduce muscle soreness after exercise.
  • A warm-up should last about 10 minutes and include moderate level activity like light jogging or cycling.
  • A cool-down after exercise may help to slightly reduce muscle soreness after exercise.
Recommended Reading List:

Physical activity - men     and    Physical activity - women


Sports injuries

Sprains and strains

Shin splints

Knee injuries

Neck and shoulder pain
Winter sports & cold-related injuries

Dancing - preventing injury

Exercise - everyday activities

Exercise intensity

Exercise programs

Exercises that could be harmful

Running & jogging - preventing injury
Pilates - health benefits

Pilates and yoga - health benefits

Resistance training - advanced

Resistance training - beginners

Resistance training - health benefits

Physical activity - overcoming the barriers

Principles of Training Athletes:

Developing Course Materials:


Health and Injury Issues

Pediatric Health and Injury Issues
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University of Georgia Mental Toughness Program  Transferability of skills from athletic arena to everyday life. Appreciation for the specialized needs of student athletes, coaches, and teams.

Commitment to Academics - Auburn University Student Athlete  This course provides freshmen & transfer student athletes with a variety of Life Skills components necessary to maximize their educational success

Tutors : Home Instructors : Private Tutoring  We have tutors in all academic subjects like Math, English, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, History, and we tutor at your home or online tutoring.

Scripps College : Scripps College Tutoring Program  The Dean of Students office sponsors a peer based Tutoring Program that ... offering a network of qualified tutors in a wide range of academic subjects at no extra ... and set up a mutually convenient time and location for your tutorial sessions. ...

FAQ - Tutoring Center - Fullerton College Academic Support Center  After you fill out the Tutoring Request Form, the process of finding a qualified tutor begins. Most of the time we can help you find a tutor for any subject.

Tutor Hunt - Private Tutors & Personal Tutors For Home Tuition  The Tutor Hunt network helps both tutors and students find each other. Search by level, subject and location, create your own tutor or student profile for free.


The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:
All materials are copy protected. 
The limited use of the materials for education purposes is allowed providing
credit is given for the source of the materials.

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