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Physical therapist advises on athletes’ preparations

Physical therapist advises on athletes’ preparations

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As many athletes, coaches and supporters of track and field look forward to the grand finales of the 2014 Inter Primary and Secondary Schools’ meets on Wednesday and Thursday,{{more}} April 9 and 10, respectively, at the Arnos Vale Playing Field, physical therapist Denis Byam wants to see the number of causalities reduced on the days.

Over the past years, several athletes had to be stretchered off the venue for various reasons.

Byam, who has been on duty at the championships for the past three years and who on several occasions has been called into action, believes that this can be avoided if athletes, along with their coaches, do the necessary preparatory work.

Headlining Byam’s recommendations is that athletes should seek medical and physical examination before participating.

Byam also noted that athletes should seek assistance from a qualified health care provider on any pain or discomfort condition.

“Athletes should have a physical plan with your coach or parent; drink lots of water and nutrilites throughout your preparations and on the day of the events. Athletes should engage in a stretching programme and warming up properly every time you train, and cool down after the session and I stress here every time,” Byam stated to SEARCHLIGHT.

Byam, a former St Vincent and the Grenadines and Windwards cricketer, added that it is vitally important that athletes, wear the proper running gear; have a proper nutrition plan: lots of carbohydrates and white proteins meats, as well as an early breakfast are vital on the day of the events.

Cognisant that several of the athletes suffer from respiratory problems, he advised: “Asthmatics must have their medication at hand at all times and it’s equally important that they keep small first aid items and an ice pack at hand.”

On the flip side, Byam outlined some areas which coaches and athletes should refrain from doing.

Among his list, Byam said that athletes should not overwork themselves leading up to the event, as rest is a very important aspect of preparation.

“Additionally, coaches should tell their athlete to stay away from meats that take a long time to digest close to your event, especially red meats… Do not eat before an event,” Byam advised.

“Stay away from the beach during competition week, as investigations prove that salt water slows down your muscles… Do not compete with an injury without the medical all-clear,” he added.

Byam also dispelled some of the misconceptions and habits which sometimes are done by athletes on recommendation of their coaches and physical education personnel.

“It is vitally important on competition day for athletes to stay off their legs and do not walk around during your rest period to the next event… Do not apply warm compresses to acute injuries that are fresh injuries; use ice instead… Do not massage acute pains, as this may be a strain and will widen,” Byam reiterated. (RT)

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