Major Funding The Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation

Sports Physiology: Top 10 Questions

September 2011

Thanks to Barrie Steele, Head Athletic Trainer, University of Idaho; Caroline Faure, Assistant Professor of Sports Science and Physical Education, Idaho State University; and Marc Paul, Head Athletic Trainer, B for the answers.

1: What is a good way to prevent hurting your body while playing sports?

Sport is stress, so you need to prepare your body to handle that stress. It can be done mentally, physically and nutritionally. Working on flexibility, strength and endurance, as well as rest and hydration, gradually will help your body manage the stress. Hydration is huge in helping to prevent injury. (From Carleigh)

2: Is it ok to exercise and not eat a lot?

No, it is not ok to exercise a lot and not eat a lot. The nutrition you get from food is what fuels your body and gives you energy. It's important to eat well-balanced meals from all the food groups and to hydrate regularly. (From Amber in Mrs. Schweitzer's class at Riverside Elementary School in Boise)

3: What sport is best for your body: soccer, football, or baseball?

As a kid, the sport that is best for your body is the one you enjoy the most. Just make sure you eat well, hydrate, get the right amount of rest, play safely and follow the rules. (From Luke in Mrs. Schweitzer's class at Riverside Elementary School in Boise)

4: What do the head coaches of teams expect from the athletes in training?

Coaches expect athletes to prepare properly, both physically and mentally. Having a good attitude and being willing to work hard are very important. Athletes need to be "coachable," able to listen and accept advice from everyone around them who is interested in helping them improve and be the best they can be. (From Jackson at Liberty Elementary School in Boise)

5: What happens if you exercise or run and have asthma?

If you have asthma, it's important for you to follow your doctor's orders. Pay attention to the warning signs and if an attack comes on, step back, use your inhaler and slow down your activity for a little bit. It's safe for you to play, just play smart. (From Nate in Mrs. Rice's class at Purple Sage Elementary School in Middleton)

6: How can I prevent myself from getting concussions?

It's hard to prevent a concussion. If you use proper techniques, pay attention to where the other players are, and be aware of your surroundings you can help to minimize them. The most important thing is that if you feel you may have a concussion (nausea, headache, light sensitivity, lightheaded, or you just don't feel right), you need to tell somebody and remove yourself from the game. (From Olivia at Hidden Springs Elementary School in Boise)

7: If you get injured in a game, when do you know if you should go back in or not?

If you have an injury that involves a physician or medical professional, let them make the call. Otherwise, when you are able to perform the activity well, and your parents and coach feel it is safe for you to return to the sport, then go ahead and gradually get back into it and start again. (From Harrison in Mrs. Schweitzer's class at Riverside Elementary School in Boise)

8: How do you give your ankles more support?

At the collegiate level, we do a lot of strengthening exercises. Kids are growing fast and going through a lot of changes, so don't worry about getting into a weight room and lifting weights. There are some light strengthening things you can do. Also, kids' ankles are sometimes taped, or we can provide them with braces that they can wear. (From Hunter)

9: How do you be a better blocker?

Listen to your coach. You are going through a lot of physical changes as a kid and you need to be open to suggestions and willing to learn. (From Rowdy at Trail Wind Elementary School in Boise)

10: What should you eat before a big game?

You should make sure you eat a well-balanced meal with protein and carbohydrates. Also, make sure you hydrate. Many people don't start drinking water until they are thirsty, but that's really too late. Start drinking water about an hour and a half before you engage in physical activity in order to hydrate your body properly. (From Ashton and Eva in Mrs. Hunt's class at Cynthia Mann Elementary School in Boise)

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