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Message To Weekend Warriors – Ease Back Into Winter Sport To Reach Your Peak

Winter sports are set to resume this weekend and ACC is encouraging people to ease back into the game so they can reach their potential without picking up a season-ending injury.

Sports injuries have been way down during the Covid-19 lockdown – less than 14,000 compared with almost 90,000 in the same period last year, based on ACC claims.

It’s inevitable there will be an increase in claims as thousands of people get back out onto the sports field, but we want to avoid a significant spike in the more serious injuries that can be prevented if players take time to prepare well, says ACC Injury Prevention Partner Natalie Hardaker.

“We’re encouraging people to play the long game and be smart in their approach to returning to sport,” she says. “We can’t make up for time lost this season by coming back too quickly - that is more likely to lead to injury. We know that the most successful teams are the ones with the lowest injury rates Your teammates need you to still be out on the field with them at the end of the season.”

“The good news is most of these injuries are preventable, so we really encourage coaches and players to take some simple steps: include a proper warm up into every training session, focus on physical conditioning, and take rest days to let your body recover,” Hardaker says.

You can find the ACC SportsSmart warm up programme online: https://www.accsportsmart.co.nz/.

“As people get back into competition and contact sport, be aware that you will be working from a lower level of sport-specific fitness and this poses an increased injury risk,” she says.

“Make the most of this unusual season and enjoy being back with your teammates – don’t blow it by going too hard, too fast,” Hardaker says.

Advice for coaches:

  • Recognise and accept that this season isn’t normal so give your team time to build up fitness and focus on the long game.
  • The best thing you can do for your team is focus on physical conditioning and gradually increase training as you move back into sport.
  • Going too hard too soon will increase the risk of your players getting injured.
  • The highest-performing teams have the lowest injury rates.
  • Think about rotating your players and options for shortened games.

Advice for players:

  • Recognise and accept that this season isn’t normal so give yourself time to build up fitness and focus on the long game.
  • You’ll reach your potential faster and get better results if you focus on building up your sport-specific physical condition first.
  • The best thing you can do for your team is to take your time to get back to your best.
  • You’ve waited this long to get back into sport. Don’t blow your season by going too hard too soon!

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