13 Ways to Suffer a Preventable Sports Injury


Sports injuriesApril is Sports Injury Prevention Month. In April 2013, we talked about “Promoting Youth Sports Safety by giving 10 suggestions to help in that effort. In April 2012, we encouraged you to “Make Eye Safety Your Goal During Sports Injury Prevention Month.” Certainly, you’re well equipped with the information to keep sports safe and enjoyable.

This year, let’s look at the flip side of preventing sports injuries by telling you 13 ways to suffer a preventative sports injury and then explain why doing so isn’t the best choice.Raquetball_Player

  1. Leave eyes unprotected. Only 35% of those surveyed by the American Academy of Ophthalmology said they always wear protective eyewear when doing yard work or playing sports. Of the 40,000 eye injuries each year during these activities, more than 90% can be prevented with protective eyewear.
  2. Never warm-up or stretch. While the best method for warming up and stretching varies by individual and by sport, the need to do so exists for every athlete.
  3. Maintain a weak core. Every sport requires the use of core muscles, so it makes sense to strengthen those in order to improve in your sport. Maintaining weak core muscles also limits an athlete’s success.
  4. Ignore proper form. Most basketball injuries occur from players landing improperly on their feet. This is just one example of how learning proper form can help prevent common injuries.
  5. Let kids be kids. Sports injuries actually occur most frequently in children ages 5-14, and most of those injuries involve collisions. Perhaps forcing safety habits on kids isn’t such a bad idea.
  6. Only consider safety during games. Since there are more practices than games, it seems logical that more injuries happen during practices than during games. For this reason, always remember to practice safety so you can play safely.
  7. Skip skill levels. While challenging yourself is a good idea, going too far beyond your skill level isn’t. Know your abilities and challenge yourself sensibly.
  8. Ignore the rules. Rules bring organization to sports. They also serve to protect players. Ignoring the rules only brings chaos and injury.
  9. Refuse to wear safety gear. While preventing every sports injury is impossible, About.com says research suggests a reduction in injuries by 25% simply by taking preventative measures. These measures include wearing safety gear that is appropriate for your sport.
  10. Over-train & neglect recovery time. Athletes with the most injuries are also those with the most consecutive days of training without rest. Rest is as important to any athlete’s success as talent and performance.
  11. Play through pain & fatigue. Pain means there’s a problem. Fatigue leads to poor judgment. Both usually result in longer recovery from an injury or overuse than had you stopped and rested at the first sign of pain and fatigue.
  12. Be a weekend warrior. Neglecting regular workouts and then hitting your sport hard on weekends too often leads to injury and fatigue that puts you out of commission indefinitely. Instead, exercise consistently during the week and still enjoy weekend activities.
  13. Stick with just the ICE method for recovery. Instead, convert to the PRICE method for recovery. This method begins with protection from further injury along with restricting activity before moving on to applying ice, applying compression, and elevating.

The best way to continue enjoying your sport on the field rather than just on the sidelines involves employing habits to prevent injury. You’ll also find more success and longevity as an athlete when you make safety, prevention and common sense a part of your training program.

New Year’s Eye Safety Resolutions

New Year’s resolutions abound this time of year, covering every aspect of improving yourself from eating and fitness to organizing and relationships. Yet, even though about 2,000 workers a day suffer eye injury requiring medical treatment and about 125,000 eye injuries involving eyewash-stationcommon household activities take place yearly, rarely does anyone include an improved approach to eye safety in their resolution list.

Even if you don’t make it one of your resolution goals, at least resolve to focus on the basics of eye safety in the coming year. Basic eye safety includes:

  • Consistently wearing sunglasses with UV protection, even on cloudy days.
  • Making sure safety glasses or goggles are always readily available.
  • Getting an eye exam if you have not done so in the last couple of years.

To go even more in-depth with eye safety in 2014, consider carrying out a simple Eye Safety Audit both at home and at work. The basic assessment below, along with the additional resources that follow, exists to help you do just that.

Basic Eye Safety Audit

A Basic Eye Safety Audit doesn’t have to be a major undertaking. The four steps listed below won’t take long to complete but can go a long way in ensuring good eye health in 2014 and beyond.

  1. Assess: Take stock of your current approach to eye safety. Is appropriate protective eyewear readily available to fit the most common situations and individuals involved? Is the eyewear cared for properly? Is there a safety plan in place to prevent accidents? Is there an emergency plan in place? Has everyone been properly educated regarding eyewear safety, proper care of protective eyewear and appropriate emergency action?
  2. Evaluate: Take your assessment from Step 1 and ask these questions. Is additional appropriate eyewear needed? Is a safety plan needed? Or, does the current safety plan need revised? Is the plan written down? Does everyone know about the plan? What about the emergency plan should an accident occur?
  3. Plan: Make a list of the products needing purchased. Make a list of information needed for a comprehensive safety plan. Use the resources below to help create a safety plan and/or emergency plan.
  4. Implement: Go to Safetyglasses USA, with categories to help find the product to best meet your needs, to purchase the necessary safety eyewear. Finalize your eye safety and emergency plans as well as purchase the necessary items (such as emergency eyewash kits and posters) for each plan to be carried out effectively.

To help implement this Basic Eye Safety Audit, we’ve compiled a list of resources that provide the information necessary to protect your eyes and the eyes of those in our life.

Eye Safety Resources

Eye Injury Prevention: A Quick and Easy Approach

Sun Safety: What to Do Before, During & After Sun Exposure

A Lesson from Anderson Cooper: Your Eyes CAN Get Sunburned

Eye Injury Misconceptions

Take Time to Focus on Eye Health & Safety

Be Eye Safety Conscious: 5 Ways to Prevent Common Eye Irritations

A Serious Reality: Workplace Eye Safety Compliance

5 Tips for Promoting Workplace Safety

Eye Emergencies: Do You Know What to Do?

How to Clean Your Safety Glasses

Workplace Safety: Have You Learned from the Past?

Think Your Organization is One of the Safest in America?

Taking just a few minutes to read through these articles may provide the knowledge needed to help avoid becoming a part of the 2,000 workers daily or 125,000 individuals yearly outside of work receiving eye injuries that require medical attention not to mention the many now having to live with permanent eye damage.

3 Tips For Selecting Cold Weather Safety Goggles

Winter Safety Goggles

Winter poses unique challenges when it comes to protective eyewear. Knowing what features to look for in a safety goggle will help you make the right choice.

For those of us in the Northern States, the falling temperatures and recent snow flurries are a good indication the first day of winter is just around the corner. These colder temperatures mean significant changes for those who have to work outdoors. While coats, hats, gloves, boots and insulating layers of clothing help block the wind and keep the body warm, we also need to pay special attention to our eyes.

Exposure to cold temperatures, wind and snow glare pose unique challenges to eye safety during the winter months. Injuries from these hazards can cause eye pain, blurred or decreased vision, light sensitivity and even vision loss! You can see why protecting your eyes in the winter is important. However, it’s easily overlooked, because we tend to worry about protecting other parts of our body from the cold first.

More Protection is Better
When it comes to protecting your eyes in the winter, it’s hard to beat a goggle. They provide outstanding protection from the wind and flying particles, and provide extra face coverage as well. However, make sure you select a goggle that is designed to be used in cold conditions. The average “lab goggle” will become rigid and uncomfortable to wear for prolonged periods and prone to excessive lens fogging. Goggles designed for winter will have features similar to ski goggles, such as soft, dense foam around the face, dual-pane lenses and wide comfortable headbands. *Make sure you use a goggle that is ANSI Z87.1-2010 certified. Avoid the temptation to use ski or snowmobile goggles as they are NOT ANSI Z87 rated.

1. Fight Lens Fogging
Without a doubt the biggest problem faced by eye protection in cold weather is lens fogging. The temperature variance between a worker’s heated face and the cold outside air causes condensation to build up on the lens. Heavy exertion can exacerbate this, because the perspiration introduces additional moisture to the lens area. Fogged lenses cause worker frustration due to blurred vision and having to frequently remove their eyewear to clear the lenses. Even worse, some workers choose to not wear their protective eyewear to avoid fighting with lens fogging! This leaves them dangerously exposed to eye injuries.

Anti-fog coatings are your first line of defense, because they help reduce and delay the condensation that can build up on the interior of the lens. However, anti-fog coatings are not fool proof, and lenses will still need to be wiped down after time to remove excess moisture. When selecting safety eyewear with anti-fog coatings, look for advanced coatings that are permanently bonded to the lens. Bonded anti-fog coatings offer better performance and last longer between repeated cleanings and lens wiping. Anti-Fog Spray can also be used to improve anti-fog performance, especially on eyewear that doesn’t have a standard anti-fog coating.

Another important feature for winter safety goggles is the lens design. Dual-pane lenses are well suited for winter applications because they feature two lenses separated by an air chamber. The air between the two lens panes acts as an insulator, which helps reduce condensation. Just like other winter eyewear, dual-pane lenses should be treated with an anti-fog coating to maximize their anti-fog performance.

2. Go With The Flow
Airflow is another technique used to reduce lens fogging. Air vents integrated into the goggles body allow warm, moist air to escape, which helps reduce moisture build up on the lens. Direct venting offers the best performance, but it can’t be used in all situations.  In certain safety environments where liquid/chemical splash is a concern, direct venting is not recommended. In such a case, you’ll want to select a goggle with indirect (hooded) vents or no vents at all.

Good airflow is a key feature for keeping lens fogging under control. In fact, it’s how the best anti-fog goggles in world keep their lenses fog free.  If you’re working in extreme conditions that require the absolute maximum in anti-fog performance, then you should consider a goggle with a built-in vent fan. These types of goggles feature a variable speed electric fan that exhausts the hot, humid air from inside the goggle before it has a chance to condensate on the lens. Of course, these type of goggles don’t come cheap, costing north of $100, and are usually reserved for military and tactical applications where clear vision could mean the difference between life or death.

3. Don’t Look Into The Light!
Photokeratitis, also known as snow blindness, shouldn’t be taken for granted and happens more often than you think. If you’ve ever been outside on a sunny winter day with the sun reflecting off a fresh blanket of snow, you know exactly what I’m talking about. The intensity of the sun’s glare bouncing off the snow can be overwhelming and extremely uncomfortable. Plus your eyes are being exposed to high levels of UV light, which can lead to macular degeneration, cataracts and corneal sunburn!

Tinted polycarbonate (or similar material) lenses are the best way to combat this onslaught of sunlight and UV exposure. Common lens tints, such as gray, brown or mirrored, are suitable for most outdoor applications. For those who frequently transition from indoors to outdoors, you may want to consider an “indoor/outdoor” tint or even a photochromic lens. The selection of lens tints should be based on user preference, working conditions and company policy (some companies may not allow the use of mirrored lenses).

Another way to reduce glare is through the use of Polarized lenses, which use a special filtering film sandwiched into the lens. This film has fine, horizontal lines, which help block the glare shining off of reflective surfaces, such as snow, water and ice. Benefits include less eye strain and improved visual clarity.

Keep Calm and Wear Your Eye Protection
With all of winter’s discomforts, unique challenges and hazards, it’s easy to forget about or even ignore eye protection. Following the suggestions above will help keep your eyes safe during the cold winter months ahead.

List of recommended anti-fog goggles for winter:

Do you have any questions, comments or suggestions about winter eye protection? Please post them in the comments section below.