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Entering the Masters Games? Make Sure you Prepare

With thousands of people entering this year’s Masters Games in Geelong in October, Sports Medicine Australia has prepared a list of tips to  help you prepare.

Sports Medicine Australia (SMA) recommends that if you have entered yourself in the Masters Games, don’t bite off more than you can chew. SMA spokesperson Dr Ian Gillam suggests Master’s Games competitors undergo a medical check before launching into full on competition.

“As an older Masters athlete it is important to recognise?that just because you are ‘fit’ for your sport it does not mean you are absent from disease.  “Very fit athletes who exercise regularly may still be at risk of coronary artery disease and be at risk of a sudden cardiac event,” he said.

“If you have a family history of cardiac disease or have multiple primary cardiac risk factors (eg male, are a smoker, have hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, poor diet, or abdominal obesity) it is recommended that? you have a medical check-up, especially if there are any signs or symptoms such as chest pain, angina, shortness of breath, palpitations or nausea.”

Another risk for older athletes is acute muscle and tendon injuries.

“As we age our muscles and musculo-tendinous junctions become stiffer (there is a loss of elastic tissue in the tendons as we age), so there is a greater risk of acute muscle and tendon injuries, especially in sports that demand power and agility.” Dr Gillam said.

“A classic injury is the Achilles tendon rupture in an under-conditioned mature-age (over 40’s) squash player or footballer. Increased muscle stiffness may also result in an increased risk of soft tissue injuries eg hamstring and calf injuries.  “A loss of muscle mass and strength as we age will also increase the risk of joint injury as the muscles that cross the joint provide increased stability.  An example of this is the increased risk of knee injuries in mature aged netball players due the stepping rule.”

It is possible to minimise the risk of injury, and the best way to do that is to undertake a through a well-designed and individualised fitness program six to eight weeks before competition.

Four tips to minimise your chance of injury;

SEE your doctor for a check-up before you start competition.

HAVE an exercise/training program tailored to you by a qualified exercise physiologist.

KNOW your physical limitations and play within those.

DON’T play through pain; this is the first warning sign of injury.

For more injury factsheets head to www.sma.org.au