Dr. MJ Bazos MD,
Sports: Preventing Injuries
Who shouldn't play?
If you have a history of heart problems, you
should probably avoid playing racquetball or squash. Also, if you are sick, even
with a cold or the flu, you shouldn't participate in any strenuous exercise.
What if I'm out of shape?
If indoor racquet sports are new to you, or if
you're out of shape or haven't played in a while, you should prepare your body
by exercising for at least 1 to 3 weeks before you start playing. Begin with
walking and/or biking and stretching for 15 to 20 minutes. You may also use
light weights. Gradually build your workout up to 60 minutes, or the average
length of a racquetball or squash game.
What should I do to prepare myself
for a game?
Your body will lose water as you play, so drink
16 to 32 ounces of fluid 1 to 2 hours before a game. Special sports drinks are
not necessary. Wear cotton clothing. Avoid rubberized "sweat suits." These suits
cause you to lose more water than is healthy, and you may burn fewer
Warm up by doing some stretches for your thigh
and calf muscles, then do some light calisthenics and jogging in place.
What kind of eye protection do I
Most clubs require players to wear eye
protection. Choose eye guards that have been certified by either the Canadian
Standards Association (CSA) or the American Standard of Testing and Materials
(ASTM). You should not depend on your regular prescription glasses, because they
are not designed to give enough protection. Also, open eye guards don't protect
your eyes well enough.
What do I need to do during the game
to protect myself from injury?
Don't ignore cramps, pain or fatigue. Most major
injuries result when a player keeps playing after an injury. Always allow at
least 18 inches between you and your opponent during play. Don't be afraid to
hold your swing or stop play if you think you might hit your opponent with the
ball or the racquet. Many injuries occur when one player is more experienced
than the other. If you are the more experienced player, keep your guard up and
tone down your shots. If you are the less experienced one, do not expect to
defeat your opponent by taking unnecessary chances. Learn from your opponent's
tactics and safety measures.
What about after the game?
Allow time for a proper cool-down. Jumping into
a hot shower or running out to the car right after a game can upset your body's
normal sweating system. During the cool-down period, repeat the stretching
exercises you did before the game.