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How To Safely Enjoy Adult Sports

Aug 17, 2007
There are some serious hazards associated with the game of golf that have nothing to do with water and sand. You have your lightning. And the intoxicated fool in the runaway golf cart. And the screaming slice bearing down on you like a heat-seeking missile.

However, the hazard most likely to strike you is a serious back injury. Swinging a golf club puts a tremendous strain on the back.

As a result, golfers injure their backs more than any other part of their body. The score card shows that back injuries constitute up to 50 percent of all the injuries sustained by male golfers. That includes professionals. In the 1980s, Jack Nicklaus's career almost ended because of back problems.

Injuries do not have to be par for the course for golfers or other sports enthusiasts. Too many people take up a sport to get in shape. They would be much better off getting in shape before they take up a sport.

First Rule: Get In Shape

* Choose a sport that is right for you. Consult a physician before you begin a new sport, especially if you are over 35, overweight, easily fatigued, smoke heavily, have a history of family or personal health problems, or take medication.

* Take the time to visit with an exercise professional to develop a personal training and stretching program. Make sure you know how to stretch just before and after you engage in the activity, and warm up. Professional athletes take time to stretch and warm up properly. So why should you cut corners?

* Take lessons. Learn from a qualified/certified instructor.

* Stay hydrated. Drink water or sports drinks before, during and right after playing.

* If you are injured or sore, stop the activity and give the muscles time to heal. Stretching can make them worse.

Be FOREwarned

According to the National Safety Council, about 50,000 golfers require emergency room treatment each year, including over 8,000 golf cart incidents.

* Learn the proper swing and body mechanics from a pro.

* Always warm up before you play. Spend a few minutes swinging both the irons and the woods.

* Protect your back. Don't bend from the waist. Use your legs. Squat, and get help lifting heavy objects like golf bags from the trunk.

* Don't hang your feet out of carts or drive drunk; drive at a moderate speed; and avoid inclines.

* On the course, golf etiquette and safety go together.

* Before any practice swing or shot, be sure no one is close by or in a position to be hit by the club, the ball, or any stones or twigs that could be moved by your swing.

* Never hit a golf ball if others are in range. If you're hitting to an area you can't see, take time to be sure the area is clear.

* Warn others if you're making a shot from a bad lie.

* Heed lightning warnings. Get inside a building as quickly as possible. If a shelter is not available, move toward low ground and avoid lone trees. Do not hold golf clubs.

* To avoid insect stings and tick bites, don't walk through woods and thick grass.

* Wear a hat and sunscreen with a 30 SPF.

* Contact the U.S. Golf Association website for tips on etiquette.

Weeknight/Weekend Warrior Tips

* lmost 75 percent of softball injuries involve sliding. Avoid sliding if possible. If you do slide on occasion, practice the proper technique. Encourage your league to use breakaway bases, since almost all sliding injuries involve fixed bases.

* Each year, hospital emergency rooms treat nearly 40,000 people for sports-related eye injuries. Wear sports eyeguards when participating in activities that could injure your eyes.

* Buy quality equipment and keep it properly maintained. Be sure it fits your size and shape.
About the Author
John Myre is the author of the award-winning book, Live Safely in a Dangerous World, and the publisher of the Safety Times Reproducible Articles..
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