Participating in sports is an excellent way to maintain a healthy body weight, discourage bad habits for your body like drinking or smoking and reduce stress. Team sports encourage teamwork and leadership, which are all great skills for you! Except when sports can take a dark turn and too much of a good thing can be detrimental to your health.

Three sports that can cause long term injury and should be practiced with care are Football, Soccer and Running. Our number one is obvious. Football. It causes the highest numbers of debilitating and long-term disabilities like ankle sprains, Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) sprains, Meniscus tears and damaged ACL’s (Anterior Cruciate Ligament). Soccer injuries include ACL and Meniscus tears, Achilles Tendonitis, Shin Splints and Patellar Tendonitis. Long-term running injuries generally impact joint health and can lead to osteoarthritis.

The best method of preventing these injuries is to take care! You know your body best, or at least you should. Know your limits and stick to them. Proper warm-ups are vital for preventing injury. For Football, which involves sudden, high intensity bursts of movement; a warm-up increases the heart rate and blood flow throughout the body. Stretch your muscles and warm up to become more flexible for the sport ahead. An ideal warm-up entails stretching and a 5-minute cardio activity such as jogging or cycling. Follow this with more stretching. That’s why they always made you run a few laps around the gym on top of some jumping jacks and stretches. It may have felt like a fascist experiment meant to bring you pain and exhaustion, but in reality it was so you didn’t end up shredding your shoulder while making that amazing dive during soccer practice. You’ll look so cool doing it, but if you’re not properly warmed up, you won’t be looking so hot with your arm in a sling, watching from the sidelines.

This is the sad reality for many professional and semi-professional athletes. Sports injuries, barring juicy scandals, are the number one reason amazing athletes fall into the sidelines and into anonymity. Taking care of your body, eating well, and exercising mindfully will ensure that you’re still making those soccer dives for decades to come.

June 9th 2015, written by Maria Schumann for bodono.

Maria Schumann is a writer living in NYC, please visit her blog at
About Maria Schumann: “I love writing poetry, breaking a sweat at bikram yoga, and reading serial killer books while cooking. I love watching documentaries and I am always game for a crazy night of poker. Understanding the importance of a healthy relationship with my body and mind inspires me to help others come to a symbiotic relationship with their bodies and minds as well. Through writing I am able to reach people with my words and hopefully inspire positivity and change.”