I dislocated my shoulder last week playing a three-on-three basketball game. The first thing that comes to my mind trying to describe this experience is pain I would not want to feel again. So with this article, I will start a series of posts about the most common sports related injuries and how to treat them, but most important, how to prevent them. I will call this: The Basketball is my Passion Injury Prevention System. You can look for this articles on the site menu under “Injury Prevention System”.
Injuries are so much related to sports that a prevention and treatment system must be a part of every training program for coaches, players and parents.
A Dislocated Shoulder, or a subluxed shoulder, if partially dislocated, is one of the most common injuries an athlete may suffer at any given time during his life. The shoulder is a joint like no other that allows for great mobility, but also for a greater risk of a lesion if not prepared. And even if you are very well trained, the possibility of an injury is always present at any level of sports practice. There will always be that unpleasant injury list nobody wants to be in, but we see it everyday in the major league sports.
I never expected to injure my shoulder that night, I was unaware of the risks, and that is part of not being fully prepared and focused on the game. Preparation includes both physical and mental awareness, before, during and after the game; it is intrinsic to the challenge of playing to win, or just for fun.
The first point in our Injury Prevention System is Awareness. This needs to be a laser sharp type of awareness where there is no place for doubt or second thoughts. Because this alone is really hard to achieve, injuries happen all the time.
To be aware means, first of all, that you know your body, your skills and capacities; how you will react to certain movements, or levels of stamina. Every body is different and also, every lesion is unique. Second, you need to be aware and ready for the external circumstances, your surroundings, other players, the court. Anticipation is a good skill to develop to be aware of whats coming to be able to avoid an injury, or make a great play.
I felt exactly how my right shoulder was forced out of place towards the front as a result of a hit and turn from my opponent who was trying to beat me to the basket along the base line. My shoulder was locked for a moment in extreme pain and then I started to feel numbness running down my arm. As I walked out of the court holding my shoulder with my left hand, I tought I had to fix it like Mel Gibson did in his Lethal Weapon movies and started looking back to the basket base pole to hit my shoulder back in place. It was not necessary as I was also instinctively gently moving the head of my shoulder back with my hand until it popped back in its socket. It all happened so quickly and I was glad the pain eased and I was able to move my arm normally again.
I felt sore all around the shoulder as I was slowly moving and rotating my arm in an attempt to inspect if it was OK. As the joint capsule and ligaments of the front of the shoulder are put under significant tension it is the best to visit a physician or orthopedist to make sure there is no further damage to the area.
Usually icing, resting and restriction of movement could be all it takes to begin a strong recovery process, but depending on each case, it may even require surgery, like and arthroscopic repair.
My shoulder was not prepared, nor my whole body in that case, for that game. I am not in shape and have not exercised on a regular basis lately increasing my chances to put myself in the injured list by a hundred percent.
The second point in our Injury Prevention System is Strength and Conditioning. If you are constantly pushing your body to the limit, you are testing the waters of failure and damage if not in your optimal mental and physical condition. Strength and Conditioning is a complex system in itself, which makes our IPS even more complicated.
Strength and Conditioning involves taking care of good nutrition, proper rest, and a comprehensive and constant exercising routine tailored to a specific sport. To follow and endure a training like this with persistence for months, and years will contribute to the development of your mental toughness which is also a key element of the optimal strength and conditioning, and ultimately, of the Injury Prevention System.
I will share the third and fourth points in our IPS in the following post about another common injury when playing basketball: Ankle Injuries.
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