CALLING ALL COACHES: HERE IS HOW TO REDUCE TEAM INJURIES BY 50% (you will be surprised how easy it really is)

Photo Credit: UB Department of Orthopaedics

Leslie J. Bisson, MD is not only MD Professor and Chair of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University at Buffalo (completing over 1,500 ACL reconstructions), but he is also the team physician for the Buffalo Bills and the Buffalo Sabres. Dr. Bisson has one simple message for all coaches: preventative steps, such as simple stretching, strengthening, and conditioning exercises could reduce team injuries by 50%. So why aren’t these steps being taken by all coaches? It is likely that these easy steps are not widely known by all coaches. This webinar is about to change that.

On Friday, May 1, 2020 Dr. Bisson will be speaking as part of a Webinar put on by Project Play Western New York and co-sponsored by the UB Center for the Advancement of Sport on how to decrease team injuries by following very simple do-it-at-home exercises that do not even require any equipment. As we have seen with recent events, it is always better to be proactive, rather than reactive, and proactivity is just what Dr. Bisson is calling for.

In an interview with Dr. Bisson, we discussed player injuries including concussions, strains, and tears. He noted that if you take women’s soccer for example, 1-2 players per team, per season end up with an injury that is more than likely preventable, such as ACL tears. However, if coaches were to tell these players to start exercising for ten minutes or less six weeks before the season began and continue throughout the season, it would result in at least a 50% reduction in player injuries. With patients as young as 9 and 10 years old needing ACL reconstruction, Dr. Bisson urges coaches and athletic directors alike to begin implementing these easy exercises in an effort to prevent player injuries.

Dr. Bisson notes that medicine has made leaps and bounds in treating injuries, where in the 1970s an ACL tear would be a career ending injury and today, a player will sit out a season, but then play again as if the injury never occurred. However, no matter the surgery, these patients are 4-6 times more likely to develop arthritis in the long term. Even with a surgery such as ACL reconstruction that can be performed easily and only take the player out for a season, there are other effects that are lifelong. This needs to be considered when evaluating how preventable these types of injuries truly are. Why have a player suffer with surgery, a season out, and potential arthritis when she can just practice exercising the right way?

For those coaches out there who are concerned about substituting their already effective conditioning and strengthening exercises, Dr. Bisson has great news for you. The exercises he is recommending are not going to take away from conditioning and strengthening exercises. These preventative exercises promote fitness and athleticism, just as any other conditioning and strengthening exercises do.

Why now? Right now, players should start practicing these exercises. They can begin completing these exercises at home, conditioning themselves for the next season of athletics. Further, now is the perfect time to focus on preventative measures. Many youth coaches are parents and other volunteers from the community. Even if they wanted to make sure they were reducing injuries for their players, where would they find these effective exercises? Dr. Bisson is holding this Webinar to put these resources all in one place and spread awareness.

To drive home his point, Dr. Bisson drew a fantastic comparison between preventing common sports injuries and preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus. Given recent events, many of us (hopefully all of us) are staying home, washing our hands, and wearing masks when we leave the house. Why? Because these are preventative measures that are limiting occurrences of the disease. So, why not engage in 10 minutes or less of exercises that can be done at home without any equipment as a preventative measure that would limit the occurrences of sports injuries?

Not only will you help your players avoid preventable injuries, but you may also be reducing your risk of liability. From a legal perspective, the probability is high for significant team injury when coaches and athletic directors do not utilize easy, accessible tools such as those provided by Dr. Bisson. Therefore, implementing these “best practices” are an excellent tool for athletic administrations to reduce the risk of potential litigation.

Our behavior as a population has a major effect on others, and this is the perfect time to realize that. So let’s spread awareness and reduce team injuries. It is as simple as accessing this link: https://ubortho.com/patient_info/injury-prevention/ and attending Dr. Bisson’s Webinar on Friday, May 1, 2020.

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