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
- 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
- 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.