WITH many sports in their opening rounds or just returning, physiotherapists are offering their advice to minimise injuries on the field.
Tye Sieger of Sapphire Coast Physiotherapy said gradual and progressive exposure to the stressors of physical play were one of the best measures to reduce sporting injuries.
"Realistically, get to training and expose your body to any kind of stimulus you're likely to experience on game day," Sieger said.
"My simplest solution is train twice a week."
While many have tried to keep up their training programs during COVID-19 lockdowns, Sieger said it was likely that many people were unconditioned and could be at a greater risk of injury.
"Very simply you just need to progressively expose the body to the demands of the sport - the key word there is progressive," he said.
As players return to their chosen sporting arena, Sieger encourages them all to be aware of the specific demands of that sport, adding that a majority of sport injuries centred around legs, knees and ankles.
"Most predominantly in a sporting population would be lower leg injuries in terms of both muscular, tendon and ligaments," he said.
"Most injuries occur from a landing mechanism, high-speed running, or a contact mechanism (tackling)."
Sieger said there was always an element of luck - or bad luck - in sporting injuries, but new evidence showed injury prevention programs were having success in "creating your own luck - that you can build up tolerances to certain forces."
"There is always an element of wrong place and wrong time and a massive caveat that you can't stop all injuries, but there is growing evidence we can prevent them to an extent."
Sieger encouraged clubs to look at including injury prevention programs as part of warm-up routines and said the AFL Prep to Play and the FIFA under 11 programs were solid options to look at.
"It has to be worth it for clubs and time is a factor, but from my perspective - which is biased - they're worth preventing two or three big injuries per year."
Sieger said women's players should pay particular care as evidence showed women were more likely to suffer lower-leg injuries.
"There are anatomical features of the female build that can leave them more prone [to those injuries]."
He said, while women's sports were exploding in popularity, women's injuries could also be a by-product of joining contact sports in senior grades.
"There hasn't been the time to develop some of those sports where playing from eight through to adulthood you develop ability and capacity to absorb those stressors."
With some codes returning, Sieger praised the efforts of local clubs, who had put in countless hours to get sport running again after COVID-19 lockdowns.
Hockey, netball, Aussie Rules, rugby league, football and now rugby union have all returned in some capacity with modified 2020 seasons.