Mistakes Recreational Athletes Make When Returning To Sport After Injury

Mistakes Recreational Athletes Make When Returning To Sport After Injury

By Jackson McKellar

Before you returned from that hamstring injury were you comfortable that you exposed yourself to enough high speed running? After your ACL reconstruction were you satisfied that you had enough exposure to training drills at match intensity? In your rehabilitation after your shoulder reconstruction, did you expose yourself to high force, high speed exercises in the gym? OR have you sustained and injury and are thinking you will have a few weeks off and then just get back into it?? How do you know that you’ve essentially ‘done the work’ to return to sport and how confidence are you in returning? This blog is a MUST READ and will likely change your views on what is the best course of action in all of these situations…

“Exposing our bodies to the demands of an activity and ensuring we have done enough of this, is the key to ensuring we don’t sustain a re-injury or another new injury when we return to activity or sport.”

The rehabilitation journey for most people, especially active people, should be pretty straight forward. Movement, strength development and then return to activity. For most however it is not that simple. For many reasons and some often outside of our control, it’s not always easy to finish injury rehabilitation in its entirety. Kids, work, relationships and of course finances all play a significant role… but what happens if we don’t stay the course?

Let’s make this clear.  We constantly talk about building strength and its importance in rehabilitation, however, barbell squats aren’t going to prevent that second ACL injury and bench press isn’t going to ensure your shoulder doesn’t sublux or dislocate during contact and tackling in a game scenario. Why is this?

Gym exercises are controlled and measured. On the flip side, changing direction in a game or making a tackle isn’t usually controlled and often involves chaos and unpredictable environments. Gym work without a doubt decreases the risk or re-injury and new injuries from occurring, however it’s the lack of exposure to the requirements of the actual activity or sport specific training that increases the risk of injury AND reinjury.

“Why do we buy car insurance and not leave having an accident to chance however are not willing to do the same with our health? Following a clear plan under the guidance of a trained health professional ensures we can get back to what we want to do without wasting time and money on poor management over a longer period of time.”

So here it is, our three tips to ensuring you’ve had enough exposures before returning to your activity of choice :

  1. Ensure your numbers in the gym (i.e. weights) are at the same level, if not higher than what they were before your injury and if you haven’t been in the gym, get help and guidance to get in the gym!

  2. Expose yourself to activities in controlled environments. i.e. running in a straight line or around pre-set out cones, controlled contact sessions for contact sports or even walk run variations for distance runners

  3. Expose yourself to drills and training sessions that are unpredictable, where you have to make reactive decisions and where you aren’t protected

When you see a team member at Stride, you can be rest assured that our time working in elite sport has allowed us to create and formulate rehabilitation programs that involve strength, conditioning and the coaching of specific exposures to the task or activity that you want to get back to. This provides certainty and confidence in returning to what you want to be doing with a reduced risk of injury and even better, improved performance!

 We say it every day of the week and we will say it again, ACCOUNTABILITY IS KING! As much as we will show you what is required to achieve your goals, we pride ourselves on helping you stay course and that’s why we truly believe we help our clients get the results they do. At the end of the day, we can’t make you do the work, but through teamwork and a positive environment, we will ensure that you not only feel energised to achieve your goal but will actually do the work and achieve it!

If this has resonated with you, we would love to hear from you or if you would like to work with our team we have Physiotherapists, Podiatrists, Strength & Conditioning coaches and Myotherapists that are here to help you get back to where you want to be. Reach out by clicking here.




If you would like our help to keep active & happy, give us a call