Back in the Game

Tips for Student Athletes on Proper Stretching and Injury Prevention, as They Return to School Sports

Article by Arielle Jordan & Paul Manfre

Photography by Roxann Patrick

Originally published in Centerville Lifestyle

Milissa and Paul Manfre are quite literally a South Dayton “power couple.” Milissa is a certified athletic trainer and a licensed massage therapist. Paul is a certified strength and conditioning coach. The two own PowerAthlete, an impressive physical fitness center in Centerville established in 1997. “We started in a room of our rented house and now own a 14,000-square-foot building,” Paul recounted. PowerAthlete specializes in sports performance and sports rehabilitation, and Paul says that the coronavirus has put many athletes in quite a predicament. “They’ve been unable to do the most basic volume of training; so when returning to play, they’re at ground zero,” he said. “The danger is that coaches aren’t easing them back into training, and preseasons are now shorter.”

These factors are problems that can create injury opportunities for underprepared athletes. Unprepared joints, weak muscles and detrained cardiovascular systems are a bad combination. The concern is that not enough time will be spent on rebuilding a base level of conditioning and joint-by-joint strength. Combined with a compressed training timetable, student athletes will be at 100% intensity way too quickly.

Paul says that the solution to overcoming these challenges is multifaceted. “Get adequate sleep and hydration; ensure a high volume of protein in the athlete’s diet; and perform injury prevention exercises for hips, knees and shoulders, along with daily flexibility for recovery. Contrast showers or baths are also great for recovery, because alternating time in cold and hot water brings new oxygenated blood into the extremities.” Prerecovery exercises, like the ones that follow, should be performed before any workout or training session, to prepare the body for what’s to come and reduce the chance of injury. To learn more about athletic injury prevention and recovery, call (937) 414-0362 or visit PowerAthlete.net.

01. Face-Down Floor Slides 

For upper back and shoulder strengthening. First lie face down on floor, with elbows bent and by your sides. Then lift arms and legs off floor, as high as possible. Next extend arms out in a controlled manner, then bring arms back in to shoulders. Repeat for 3 sets of 6 reps.

02. Single Hip Lift

For hip and hamstring strengthening. First lie on your back, with one foot on floor and one foot in the air. Next push foot into floor and lift hips off floor. Then, in a controlled manner, return hips to the floor. Repeat for 3 sets of 8 reps on each side.

03. Side Plank with Abduction

For core and hip strengthening. First lie on your side, with a bent elbow directly below your shoulder and feet stacked. Next lift hip off floor, as high as possible, and hold. Lift top leg in a controlled manner, then return to starting position. Repeat for 3 sets of 6 reps on each side.

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