The 2018 Fifa World Cup kicked off in Russia on Thursday, June 14! As young student-athletes, it is inspiring to watch these players compete at such a high level. No matter how much training and practice goes in to preparing for such a big tournament, there are undoubtedly injuries that these players face along the way. OrthoCarolina Physician Assistant, Andy Hylton, understands the drive these players have to get back on the field as soon as possible. However, he also explains that with a little time, rehab and cardio any athlete can come back from an injury better and stronger than before!
So what do you do when you’re injured and you need to get back for regular season, playoffs or even the World Cup?
Maintaining cardiovascular strength is overlooked but imperative. The demands of soccer require athletes to have to strong cardio base. Regardless of how quickly you heal, if you are not conditioned to play, you will not only be ineffective, but you are also increasing your potential for re-injury. Find non impact activities such as bike riding, swimming or using the elliptical. You can get a great workout without putting too much pressure on injured joints (depending on what you have injured).
Whether working with a physical therapist, athletic trainers or on your own, rehab is important. After an injury the involved extremity needs to be “re-trained” for two reasons. When we move, there are ongoing signals sent to the brain about our movement patterns. These signals get disrupted after an injury and need to be re-trained (proprioception). Secondly, after a muscle or tendon is injured it becomes weakened and needs to be strengthened.
I tell my patients all the time that we can not circumvent the laws of healing. I returned too soon after my ankle injury and had an average season (and a really sore ankle). Try and be patient. It will pay off.