DSU training staff offer tips to avoid injuries

A Dixie State University student is maintaining his strength and conditioning in the weight room. Weight training is an important way to prevent injuries. Photo by Breanna Biorato.

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There are 15 different sports teams at Dixie State University, eight athletic trainers, and three strength and conditioning coaches. Between all of the trainers, coaches and other team personnel, there is one goal: to keep the student-athletes healthy.

Three of these trainers have tips on what they do or tell their athletes to do to keep them in shape.

Get plenty of sleep

Bruno Silva, the football and men’s golf athletic trainer, and Brittany Pollastro Moysh, women’s soccer and softball athletic trainer, said to get plenty of sleep.

“Most athletes do not sleep enough to allow their bodies to recover, therefore increasing the likelihood of getting injured,” Silva said.

Moysh said she recognizes that sleep is hard for student-athletes to get, but she still preaches its importance to her athletes. College-aged students and student-athletes should all be getting eight hours of sleep per night, but more can be needed after extensive training to help the body recover.

Be consistent

Craig Timmons, head strength and conditioning coach, said maintaining a consistent routine, especially right now, is key to his athletes’ success. With the constant changes and various quarantining issues, it’s vital to stay active and not take extended time off from the sports.

“I preach consistency,” Timmons said. “The type of training might change because of the situation you’re in, but being consistent with your training is most important. There’s no specific one exercise that is going to be the end-all be-all; you have to work your whole body with what is available to you.”

Despite uncertain times, Timmons is continuously ensuring his athletes know they have to keep working. Whether in the offseason, preseason or quarantined, they have to continue to work to stay in shape.

Work in the weight room

Both Timmons and Silva emphasized the importance of working out in the weight room to enhance their skills and prevent injuries.

“Weight training is the only true way to decrease injuries,” Silva said. “[The] majority of soft tissue injuries are from lack of proprioception or fatigue. Making sure your body can handle demand from the sport is vital to protect your body.”

Timmons said he wants to make as physically fit athletes as he can at the end of the day. He leaves it up to the coaches to specify to respective sports, but being as big, fast and strong as possible makes someone an overall better athlete.

Warm-up, cool-down and stretch

Stretching seems to be the answer you always hear in regard to injury prevention, but Moysh also emphasizes the importance of doing a full warm-up and cool-down.

Moysh said: “Making sure you warm up all the areas you’re going to need for that practice [is key]. Get a good dynamic warm-up and stretch in before you start playing. Just activate the muscles; that will bring down the risk of injury. Then you need a proper cool-down with a little more static stretching, ice; things like that will help with recovery.”

A balanced diet

Health isn’t just about the body’s function, it’s the fuel put into a body as well. For college athletes, what they’re eating is a big part of their recovery. Silva and Moysh said when athletes don’t eat right, it causes them problems in the long run.

One myth Moysh always hears from her athletes is that they need to eat only protein because it will help them become big and strong.

“That’s not true,” Moysh said.

Eating a well-balanced diet is key to maintaining health. Eating from all your food groups is essential to having a well-balanced diet. Don’t emphasize or cut out one group, just eat appropriate portions for the amount of work you put on your body.

Wear a mask

It seems obvious, but for Silva, the best thing his athletes can do is keep wearing their masks to stay in the gym. Quarantining, being out of the gym and stopping practices breaks up their routines and makes things more difficult. Being precautious about getting sick is a huge part of his athletes’ success.