Unfortunately, injuries do happen!
When an athlete gets injured in training, a game or in competition and there is a big game or competition coming up in just a few weeks time, I have seen athletes over and over turn to almost anything to give themselves a better chance to be available for selection. Unfortunately, most of the big claims about recovery from injury you may find when reading online or stories you heard 2nd hand are bogus. There is no magic bullet or potions, but there are evidence-based strategies you can proactively implement to support recovery from an injury if it does happen!
My experience working with athletes through injury
As a performance nutritionist a key role is to help athletes to perform at their best in training and matches, but what about when they can’t train or compete due to injury? I have to admit in my earlier years practising as a performance nutritionist this was an area I did not invest enough time or attention in. I did not fully appreciate how vital the role nutrition played in getting an athlete back to full health. Over the past 4-5 years this has certainly changed with new research which presents the frequency of various injuries and various strategies to reduce injury incidence and how to support the fastest possible recovery when they do occur. It is now one of the key roles as part of a multidisciplinary team! Time is the critical factor; you just have to be proactive and help the athlete understand the major elements of nutrition they need to support their recovery.
Did you know that:
- There are physical and psychological impacts resulting from injury;
- There are 3 key stages in the physiological recovery process; inflammatory, proliferation and remodelling;
- Inflammation is one of the first reactions that occurs in the body following injury;
- When an injury occurs that results in immobilisation, muscle disuse atrophy results at a rate of 0.5% per day! This muscle loss can be up to 400g of muscle tissue from a leg within the early stages;
- During injury periods significant muscle strength loss also occurs, in some incidents, this is as much as 40%!
- People with injury often have to deal with appetite reduction which is not closely correlated with an actual need for calories.
What can you do to support the recovery process?
- There are key nutrition strategies to help support recovery from injury at each stage of recovery;
- Consuming the appropriate level of energy is vital for the recovery process;
- Specific macronutrient intakes have been found to be vital for reducing muscle wastage and supporting healing;
- Certain foods can play an important role in managing inflammation associated with injury;
- A supplement strategy can have a positive effect on the recovery process.
The tough reality of sport and play!
Injuries are an unavoidable aspect of exercise and physical activity for everyone, from elite athletes to those exercising for health and enjoyment. Most people who exercise regularly will suffer an injury at some point which causes frustration and often pain! Picking up an injury can be mentally challenging as it often leads to forced rest, time off from training which can feel like a major set-back. There is always something you can do and getting a plan in place to begin that recovery process is essential for mindset as much as your physical healing.
How often do injuries occur?
Injuries to muscle tissue constituted 31% of all injuries and the 27% of the reasons for absence to training or matches in ‘professional footballers’. Muscle injury is defined as a traumatic distraction or overuse injury of a muscle”.
What about this for a stat. A recent study published in the British medical journal estimated that the costs of wage bills and prize money estimated that an English premier league team can lose an average of £45 million sterling due to injury-related decrement in performance per season. Premier League players suffered a total of 804 separate injuries during the 2018/19 season, resulting in 18,230 days spent on the side-lines. Pardon the pun but it’s not only the impact on the team’s performance but also the associated ‘pain’ associated with the loss of key players.
The Angels are implementing a variety of measures to ensure their athletes and key signing Mike Trout has every tool available to maintain peak performance, maximise recovery and avoid injury.
Next Level Nutrition Seminar – What to expect?
- In-depth review of the key nutrition and lifestyle strategies to heal and support recovery from injury
- Supplements that are relevant to healing and recovery
- Nutrition principles for a healthy immune system
- Foods that support a strong immune system
- The importance of a personalised rehabilitation program
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