March 1st, 2013

Health N' Sports: Preparing for Summer Recreation

Staff Report

Health N' Sports: Preparing for Summer Recreation
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Recreational Spring/Summer Leagues

As a part of the Louisville Orthopaedic Clinic, the Sports Rehab Team physical therapists are knowledgeable and trained in the latest advancements and techniques available in sports rehabilitation.

On a weekly basis, the Health N’ Sports Update will give information on prevention, recovery, and include special offers, as well as general health tips that would be beneficial to all. If there is a specific topic you’d like to know or hear more about, email future suggestions to

As spring approaches, many groups of coworkers, friends and churches are starting to form teams for various league sports.  Picking up your old softball glove, playing kickball for the first time since grade school, or taking up volleyball or ultimate Frisbee may sound like fun, but one needs to be cautious to avoid injury.

These types of leagues are often filled with a population of “weekend warrior” types, or those who have not exercised in months or even years. Many of you may be going from sitting on the couch to getting out there sprinting to the bases or jumping up to spike the volleyball.  This is your classic scenario for muscle injury, often a hamstring or calf tear or in worse cases an achilles tendon rupture.  There is often a wide range of age and skill level comprising these teams, which can lead to over exertion and resulting orthopedic injuries such as chronic tendinopathies.  Another common issue is lack of practice;  most people on these league teams have jobs and families & are lucky to get out for an 8 PM game much less make any time for practice.  There are also the people who get talked into joining a team without ever swinging a bat and have no instruction on proper form for an individual sport.  Playing any sport without practice means that the under-used or under conditioned  muscles groups needed for participating in a particular sport can set a person up for traumatic or chronic injuries.

So how can we join the office team and have a good time without risking injury?  

Know your limits.  Flexibility and balance tend to decrease with age so someone in their fifties may have trouble keeping up with a twenty year old on the field or court. 

Warm up.  Games like softball and kickball involve explosive movements, so five minutes of light jogging and easy batting, throwing, kicking, etc. before play is crucial to minimizing risk of injury.

Stretching during and after the games can also decrease risk of muscle strains. 

Use proper equipment.  There is no need to spend hundreds of dollars on shoes, bats, or gloves, but make sure everything is in decent shape.  Cleats are a good idea for field sports if you are doing a lot of running.  Wear necessary protective padding if indicated, and make sure everything fits- if you are borrowing equipment it should be from someone of a similar stature.

Get pointers. If you have little to no experience with the particular sport, talk to someone on the team who does to at least learn some basic techniques and make sure you are using proper form.


So what have we learned? Yes, you can still join in on the fun of participating in a recreational league, even if you aren’t an athlete or maybe aren’t in the same shape you were in previous years. The most important thing to remember is to use your common sense. Listen to your body. If any motion causes actual pain, take this as a possible warning of your body telling you not to continue. In that case, see if the particular movement can be modified, or you may even want to consider changing positions to something that doesn’t require this particular movement, motion, or technique.

Take it easy, remember this is for fun, and don’t overdo it!

Comments by St. Albert the Great’s Chair Aaron Lanning further discuss adult leagues (St. Albert the Great offers Co-Ed Kickball, Co-Ed Volleyball, Men's League Basketball and a Dodgeball League:

1) You have seen and been around athletic events for all levels of athletes. Do you hear about common injuries for adults who may have been athletes years ago and now are a part of leagues or teams in the city for fun?


The last few years I have seen quite a few injuries in our adult leagues. Most injuries are re-injuries from peoples’ past. Knees and ankles are injured frequently.


2) What are any preventative ways to avoid injury that you have hear about for adults before they get going in an adult league?


Most people, myself included, do not warm up enough. Most games are usually running behind and people rush out to play.


3) Why is it important for adults in churches, work, and neighborhoods to get involved in sports (even if they aren't elite athletes)?


As a parish, we want it to be like family. What better way to become friends than playing sports with and against each other? I think getting involved and creating long lasting friendships is what happens when you get involved.


4) Do you think that adults should be aware of the latest equipment and game rules to prevent injuries?


Proper footwear is the most essential thing I think people need to prevent injuries.


5) Do you think that adults try to match performances from when they were younger and that might cause injury?


Yes, some people do, including myself. It’s tough not to go 100% if you’re that type of person. Sometimes you can’t turn it off.


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