Joel Gray on Injury Prevention

By Charlie Norgaard

Now that spring sports are in full throttle, more and more injured athletes are beginning to pile up in Joel’s office.

Twisted ankles, sore backs, pulled muscles, you name it. Joel has his hands full when it comes to taking care of OES’s athletes and as the spring season continues he’s concerned that more an more injuries will flare up.

Last year, I spoke with Joel about injury prevention and what we can do as a program to reduce the number of sports related injuries. Joel had a lot to say about the subject, but his driving point was focused on the way our athletes were training, specifically one sport athletes.

In his years as physical trainer and coach, Joel said that one-sport athletes were the most difficult to help when it came to treating injuries and there’s solid research to support this phenomenon.

It’s common that with one sport athletes, who are specialized in the same movements and motions, that there is a vast overdevelopment in certain muscle groups, and underdevelopment in others. Muscular imbalances can lead to many complications when assisting an athlete in recovery, especially if it limits their range of motion.

While this is an issue that needs addressed on a larger scale, Joel said that there are things that we can do during the season to avoid injuries. Joel emphasized that a lack of rest was a huge contributor to in-season injuries. “Athletes need to understand that each of us have limits in regards to volume and intensity in training. I would much rather have a slightly under trained athlete than an overtrained athlete when heading into a competition,” says Joel.

“A lack of rest is almost always the root of in-season injuries and is something that coaches and athletes alike should be aware of. Nutrition, rest periods, and emotional well being are critical to an athletes performance and it’s important that we make smart choices during our time away from the field.”

While stretching, foam rolling, and icing are also smart ways to reduce accumulated fatigue and injury on the body, Joel says that nothing beats rest and time away from competition in order to prevent injuries. So rest up athletes!