What you need to know to keep your body at performing at top notch

It is that time of year again. The time when high school and college athletes are getting back on the field gearing up for the fall sports season. Friday night lights get bright mid to late August, making practice time precious. In fact, many are hitting the field or the gym two or three times a day. Most athletes refer to them as two-a-days. Those grueling early morning practices where coaches are yelling and demanding your best, and the late afternoons where your muscles feel they could give out at any moment, yet the common denominator is “no pain, no gain.”

Love of the game is falling upon athletes and fans alike, yet it is the athletes that we need to be concerned about. With long hours of physical exercise, sleeping and rest are a necessity, but not the only factors in staying healthy and ready to play. Young athletes often come home from practice covered in sweat-soaked clothing, and the smell of fresh grass on their skin. Instead of reaching for the shower, many often sink into the couch or their bed. Propping their feet up for a minute, can turn into hours of shut eye before the next practice.

Once awake, food is priority to replenish the body, and then it is off to meet their buddies at the second or third practice. This is all part of the demanding part of an athletes life. So what is the risk and harm in this love-hate start to the football, field hockey, soccer, and cross-country season?

Infection. The last word to cross your mind. It is not the sleep or nourishment that can cause many to worry, it is the risk of skin infection.

Think about it, clothes harboring perspiration may not be washed for days. As well, the pads and equipment may not get cleaned properly, potentially causing the spread of harmful bacteria. Yet, there is more. Practices often happen during the early morning hours while fresh dew sparkles on blades of grass. It looks and sounds more refreshing than it actually is. The reality of it is, athletes endure grass burns or raspberries and those temporary skin blemishes can become infected by the wet grass.

Cuts, scrapes, rug burns, and more, are all prone to infection in dampness. Whether caused by dew or perspiration, this is a major problem in athletic locker rooms, and on the field. Most young athletes don’t feel the need to shower and take care of themselves properly or are tired from over exertion, causing them to skip on showers before falling asleep on their beds or couches.

Germs spread, and continue to spread. Dr. Nick Romansky of Healthmark Foot and Ankle expressed to me that he starts seeing more athletes in his office this time of year. “They forget hygiene can be important. They come in with rashes and infections, and we have to treat it.”

The skin is the first barrier of protection for any athlete. Most athletes and coaches are concerned about muscles and stamina, and rightfully so, however when skin issues arise, they have the potential to cause major problems. Outbreaks of MRSA throughout the locker room and more that can keep players off of the field.

It is important to keep the athletes health and wellness at center of attention during these two-and-three-a-day practices.

Dr. Romanksy recommends showering after each practice, being sure to clean all body parts with soap and water. His secret weapon after the shower, Theraworx foam. He instructs all of his athletes to use this cleansing agent to help keep or away or combat any lingering bacteria. “This product is used in hospitals, and has been proven effective on various skin associated conditions, making it an easy choice to protect the best of the best, the athletes grinding it out every day,” he stated.  And of course, we could not leave out of our conversation the need to wash gym or workout clothes immediately. Wet clothes will not only smell, if you let them dry and put them back on, you are asking for problems.

The next few weeks of August can take its toll on an athletes, whether amateur or professional. How can you take care of yourself? Here are a few tips:

  • Proper Hydration
  • Healthy Nutrition
  • Cross-Train to Prevent Injury
  • Cleanse Properly
  • Protect Yourself from harmful bacteria
  • Get enough sleep/rest