What is injury prevention?

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Apples do not collectively define the definition of fruit. Bananas do not collectively define the definition of fruit. The same can be said for grapes, lemons and oranges, amongst others. They are all fruit. This basically means that fruit is the generic name for all different kind’s of the aforementioned fruit. There is a hierarchal order. When you visit a super market and you think about fruit you will be able to imagine all types of different fruit available to you. By thinking about fruit in your brain you have a clear idea of all kinds of fruit, this is also called a reference. Your Fruit reference.

Muscles do not collectively define all of your body parts. Your heart does not collectively define all of your body parts. Your brain does not collectively define all of your body parts. Centuries ago a philosopher named Descartes tried to separate the two entities, body and mind. What he basically meant was that the body and mind are equal, and of the same hierarchal order, which they are not. What Descartes forgot was the fact that the brain is inside the body and therefore is part of the body. The same can be said about the muscles, heart, tendons, bones, etc. When people talk about the body they should automatically locate their body reference in the brain Body reference. Within this body reference they can find all the parts which belong to the body. Some people know a little more about the body than others, but that counts for all walks of life.

What has fruit and your body to do with injury prevention? Well I’ll explain. A couple of weeks ago there was a huge stir on social media regarding a statement from Chelsea manager Sarri. He said that he doesn’t plan strength training (with external resistance) in his weekly periodisation. Players only use body weight related exercises. The statement went something like this,“I have never seen a player carrying weight during a game”. As to be expected, people working professionally with strength training (S&C coaches) were not amused. How could a top coach like Sarri be so ignorant. Everybody knows that Olympic lifting prevents injuries. A dinosaur, somebody wrote. This is where the problem starts as there is no clear reference on what injury prevention is.

Some people (S&C coaches) think that heavy weight training prevents injuries. Others (FIFA with their FIFA 11 statement) claim that 11 simple exercises will prevent injuries. Football contains repeated sprints, so by training repeated sprints, injuries could be prevented. If you have enough rest (sleep, recovery between sessions, brain recovery) you can prevent a great amount of injuries. Besides rest you need the right nutrition (drink and food) and if you combine rest and nutrition, you can prevent injuries. 

As mentioned before, an extra amount of exercise on top of all other external factors will not prevent any injuries. Spoiler; We cannot prevent all injuries. We are helping a player with a certain problem. Introducing a new sleeping and nutritional program will not decrease the amount of injuries, but it could help, yes. Olympic lifting does not avert injury prevention. These are only a part of the the total injury prevention plan, so they stand lower in the hierarchy. 

This means that the words injury prevention are the general name for the whole package. Since injury prevention is of the highest order, all modalities to reach that goal are of a lower order. There should therefore be an Injury prevention reference  in your brain, which you can tap into when needed. All of the above mentioned options and more, should be inside that reference. You then pick the one or two options desired that will help a particular athlete. If you as an “expert” in your field, believe that your profession is going to heal the world, you are wrong. If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. What you get is what happened with the Sarri episode. People are taking things personally. 

Not all injuries can be prevented, we know that for a fact. The head coach should have an injury prevention reference in his brain, so that he can contact the right «specialist» to help a certain player who has a specific problem. As an assistant, with a specific area of expertise, we are hired to support the head coach in the day to day management of the squad. As long as you win the next game, the head coach is right. Or is he?

Thanks for sharing.

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