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Reducing biomechanical stress on non-plastic structures

There are two methods of reducing the stress placed through the musculoskeletal system. The first is to ensure that the movement patterns that the athlete is undertaking do not place excessive force through structures that cannot tolerate it or are not particularly plastic in nature. In order to achieve this, the S&C coach must have a thorough understanding of both functional anatomy and clinical biomechanics.

Fatigue management

The second method of reducing stress in the musculoskeletal system is to manage the fatigue an athlete is experiencing. Fatigue can reduce a muscle’s capacity to generate large, rapid forces and reduce reaction times, concentration and joint proprioception. All of these factors can reduce an athlete’s capacity to tolerate stress through specific structures in the musculoskeletal system. Subsequently, managing fatigue is a vital component of reducing injury risk.

Increasing tolerance

Whilst reducing stress going through the MSK system is one approach to injury risk reduction, it is important to realize that too great a reduction will result in insufficient adaptive stress and decreased opportunity for technical improvement.

Injury risk model

In order to reduce the risk of injury to athletes, it is possible to establish injury risk models and identify the interventions the S&C coach can put in place as part of a regular training programme. The process is one of establishing the most common and severe injuries in the athlete’s sport, identify the risk factors, determine appropriate measurement tools to represent the risk, identify criteria for athletes to meet and put interventions in place which are representative of reducing the risk that each particular athlete faces.

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