Various sports equipment lays on a green grass background. Includes football, soccer ball, baseball glove, softball, tennis racquets, bat, safety gear.

Staying active in the winter months may not sufficiently prepare you for diving into spring and summer sports. Without proper training for the new season, there is a higher risk of muscle and tendon strains and sprains, fractures and ACL injuries.

“Pivoting, cutting and the aerobic condition you may have during basketball season will be different than the demands needed for sports like baseball and swimming,” says Gregory Bentz, MD (Family Medicine Residency '21), Assistant Professor of Family and Community Medicine. “Different body parts will be stressed and will require appropriate conditioning.”

Repetitive movements, like those involved in baseball or softball pitching, can cause overuse injuries to upper extremities. Dr. Bentz recommends participating in more than one sport throughout all seasons, so that joints and muscles do not become stressed. “We try to avoid ‘sports specialization’ early on, meaning athletes play one sport for the majority of the year. This is an important concept – especially for young athletes.”

There are some injuries you can treat at home – minor bruises or bumps, cuts and scrapes – but it is important to see a medical professional for significant injuries that impair motion and strength, and to do it as soon as possible. Any delay in care can create more problems down the road of recovery.

Heat stroke can be common in warm weather sports, but it is also avoidable. If you must exercise, stay hydrated and limit the intensity and the amount of time you are active in hot weather. If the temperature is too hot, consider exercising early or late in the day to avoid peak sun hours. It may also be necessary to cancel or postpone the event.

One of the best ways to prepare for the new season of any sport is a physical. “They play a vital role in the health and success of athletes,” says Dr. Bentz. “It not only gives the opportunity to screen for any health problems but gives physicians a chance to council athletes on injury prevention.”

EVMS Sports Medicine is expanding services and now offers platelet-right plasma (PRP) injections, a non-surgical option for musculoskeletal injuries, used to treat ailments such as osteoarthritis and tendonitis. It is appropriate for all ages and uses the patient’s own blood to remedy pain and to help heal injured tissue.

To learn more about sports physicals, PRP injections or to make an appointment with Dr. Bentz, visit EVMS Sports Medicine or call 757.397.6344.