Off the Job Safety - The Weekend Warrior Syndrome
With hockey season well under way, hospital emergency
departments throughout the country will see the arrival of thousands of
men between the ages of 30-55 years. They will be arriving in
ambulances, taxi cabs and private vehicles to be treated for such
injuries as lost teeth, separated shoulders, pulled groins, broken
ankles, broken hands and countless other injuries. In their prime, many
of these men were outstanding hockey players. As the years flew by,
their bodies succumbed to time and the abuse they had put them through.
They have lost their speed, flexibility and resiliency to injuries. The
one thing they haven't lost is the memories of their greatness. This is
why a man who may be forty pounds overweight and has done nothing for
the past six months but drink beer and barbecue steaks will don the
skates and play as if his livelihood depends on his ability to score
goals. Hockey is not the only sport where this happens; there are
weekend warriors in any sport.
Employers and insurance companies pay millions of dollars to men and
women who have been injured when they were participating in some kind of
sporting activities. They would like this to stop because it is costing
too much money. As a paramedic, I have attended many situations where a
so called friendly game got out of hand. Where else but a hockey rink or
a playing field can you get a bunch of sober, mature men who for the
past ten years have been telling their children to stay out of fights,
drop their gloves and start wailing on each others heads with their
fists? If the participants of the fight don't make it into work the next
day because of an injury, the surprise is on the employer. In most cases
they will have to pay for him to stay home until he can return to work.
I am not saying not to play hard, but keep the following tips and
suggestion in mind:
Keep Things In Perspective.
One man was playing a scrub game of hockey when he decided to block a
shot that an opposing player was going to take. The man was wearing
little equipment. The puck hit him in the jaw breaking it and knocking
out several teeth. This little act of dedication to the game cost this
man a lot. Keep things in perspective. If you're not making your living
in professional sports, you probably don't have to take the game too
seriously. Keep this thought in mind. It is only a game.
Prepare For Your Sport
Many people will participate in one seasonal sport. The rest of the year
they will do nothing that will sustain their level of fitness. Downhill
skiing is a good example. People will drag out their skis from the
garage. Pile the family into the car and drive out to the mountains, go
up the chairlift and then come down the first black diamond run they can
find. Often the results are disastrous. Take the time to train for the
sport. Start a pre-season exercise program that will exercise the
muscles you will be using for that particular sport, and remember, don't
over do it.
Warmup For All Activities.
Whether it's hockey, skiing, baseball or jogging; it is important to
warmup before you start. Stretch those muscles and warmup before you
start. Professional athletes do it and they are younger and fitter than
most of us. You should do it too.
Wear The Proper Gear
Just as we tell our children to wear their helmets when riding their
bicycles or roller blading; it's important that we do the same. In some
sports more equipment is needed other than a helmet. Common injuries for
roller blading include broken wrists and knee injuries. Obtain and wear
the protective gear that is recommended for the sport.
Keep Your Ego In Check
As your children age, they usually get stronger and more fit. Before you
know it they can run circles around you or throw you around in a play
wrestling match. Accept it. Sooner or later they will surpass you in
physical abilities. At times you can see this at a family reunion where
the "older" guys will challenge the teenagers to a football game. Often
these games can get out of hand and the members of older team are
extremely sore the next day. Don't let your ego make you do things
you'll be sorry for later.
Listen To Your Body
When you are playing these sports and your body starts to ache or you
feel you have stretched something, stop. It will hurt a lot more the
next morning. When you're fifty-five the aches and pains hurt more and
last longer than when you were twenty-one. Remember, if you ever have
chest pain no matter how slight it may be, seek medical help
immediately, you may be having a heart attack.
These are just a few tips to keep in mind. And remember if you are too
sore for the next game, it's no big deal. Have fun.