Roundnet and Return to Play
Injury Risk and Strategies for Safe Return to Roundnet Game-Play Post ‘Sport Hiatus’
5/23/2020 - Written By: Tom Witt - MA Kinesiology, CSU Chico
**DATA behind ‘breaks’ in other professional sports and the impact they have in regards to injuries! **
**TRAINING AND RECOVERY STRATEGIES to help aid in a safe return to game play! **
Return to Roundnet - Are You Ready?
This isn’t the first time that professional sports have been on ‘hiatus’ or ‘break’ - though, nothing quite the same as this break we are currently experiencing with COVID-19.
In the last few decades there have been lockouts and player strikes in most all major sports across North America - National Football League (NFL), National Basketball Association (NBA), Major League Baseball (MLB), National Hockey League (NHL).
As well as breaks from other events such as natural disasters, and the brief period after the events of 9/11/2001.
This type of break disrupts an athlete’s normal training and competition routines.
Potentially making them susceptible for injury if they are not ready to return to the specific demands of competitive play in their sport.
While most professional athletes are at the ‘top of the food chain’ when it comes to human ‘movers’, even they aren’t immune from risk of injury when returning too soon to game play in their sport.
Injury Risk Still Present - Even If You ‘Stayed Active’ During ‘Break’
During this break you may have been working hard; practicing your touches, serves, working on that lefty drop shot, building walls in your backyard to hit off of.. Maybe even working out, practicing agility and going on runs!
Even all that diligent work put in while no one is looking does not replicate the in-game movements, and the unpredictability of those movements, used in a roundnet match.
Have you been cutting, diving, stopping, jumping, landing, running - unpredictably - and doing it for hours to replicate the demands of a roundnet tournament?
Have you also been doing all these things while fatigued; like you would be doing in the late rounds of a roundnet tournament?
Hopefully! But …. Still ...
Examples of ‘Unexpected’ Breaks in Play in Other Professional Sports
During the past few decades, there have been many lockouts, player strikes, natural disasters and various other reasons why professional sports have taken an unplanned break.
Examples of breaks in the ‘regular’ schedule of other professional sports; the NFL had a player lockout in 2011, the NBA saw a player lockout that shortened the season to 50 games in 1998-99, and the MLB as recent as 1994-95; as well as a few others in all of these major sports.
During these breaks in play, positive change usually occurs - While holding out, players and owners discuss and agree on a new collective bargaining agreement, usually between the players union and the sports league. In the past players have negotiated for things such as better post-career education and health care, pay fairness, salary caps, etc.
Although, with these breaks there is some negative that may also occur.
One of those negatives comes in the form of injuries.
Return to Play After ‘Break’ and Injury Increase -
Data Shows a Connection
When the NFL went on a strike in 2011 there was an upward trend in achilles injuries afterwards, while the NBA also saw an increase in injuries following the 2011 lockout.
Achilles Injuries Increase After NFL ‘Break’
Below is an article discussing the increase in achilles injuries seen in just the preseason after the 130 day long, 2011 NFL lockout.
“A glimpse at early data, limited to Achilles tendon injuries, is cause for concern due to an unprecedented number of Achilles tendon ruptures in training camp and the beginning of preseason.
Unfortunately, these injuries likely represent career-altering and often career-ending events for professional athletes, as one third of the players who sustain an Achilles tendon rupture in the NFL never return back to competition.
The remaining two thirds, who are able to return back to play in the NFL following Achilles tendon repair, require approximately 11 months of rehabilitation.
Moreover, these returning players experience a greater than 50% reduction in their power ratings, which is a measure of performance using statistics gathered during game play (eg, passing and rushing yards for an offensive player and tackles and interceptions for a defensive player).”
(“Did the NFL Lockout Expose the Achilles Heel of Competitive Sports?”, J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2011;41(10):702–705. doi:10.2519/jospt.2011.0107, https://www.jospt.org/doi/abs/10.2519/jospt.2011.0107)”
Focusing on a safe return to play is crucial for athlete health, performance and longevity.
2011 NBA Lockout and Injury Increase
The NBA also saw an increase in injuries following the 2011 lockout.
“Because of the 2011 NBA lockout, the regular season did not get underway until Christmas Day, 2011—almost two months after the normal starting date. And while the number of games has been reduced from 82 to 66, this still amounts to about an extra game every two weeks as compared with typical seasons.
The current analysis found that the lockout (or rather, the compacted season that it resulted in) has increased the number of injuries per day, but not the number of injuries per game. The implication is that the total number of injuries incurred by the end of this season will be similar to the total number of injuries incurred by game 66 (*regular* NBA seasons are 82 games) in previous seasons.”
(“The NBA Lockout Has Increased Injury Rates”, February 7, 2012, David Hess, https://www.teamrankings.com/blog/nba/the-nba-lockout-has-increased-injury-rates)
The author, Hess, came to two different conclusions based on the data he analyzed.
“I then refit the regression model to compare the 2011-12 season to the average of the others. In the previous two seasons, there were on average 7.3 new injuries per day. For the 2011-12 season, it jumped to over 9 injuries per day. The result was highly significant (p-value = 0.0074), which tells us that the jump in injuries this season is larger than can be attributed to random chance. Our conclusion: the lockout has had an effect.”
Take it slow, listen to your body.
Youth Athletes At Increased Injury Risk
Due to a few different factors, youth athletes can be at especially high risk of injury.
“Aspiring young athletes who do not have the enhanced physical prowess and necessary neuromuscular control are at increased risk of injury, as evidenced by epidemiological reports on anterior cruciate ligament injuries in adolescent athletes.
Exercise deficit disorder is a term we use to describe a condition in children characterized by reduced levels of physical activity that are inconsistent with positive health outcomes.
What has previously been described in a vague manner as being “out of shape” might be viewed as a deficit characterized by reduced levels of preparatory conditioning that are inconsistent with long-term health and safe integration into the demands of competitive sport.”
(“Did the NFL Lockout Expose the Achilles Heel of Competitive Sports?”, J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2011;41(10):702–705. doi:10.2519/jospt.2011.0107, https://www.jospt.org/doi/abs/10.2519/jospt.2011.0107)
Cardiovascular Related Injuries
Sports Illustrated discusses the prevalence of return to sport injuries involving cardiovascular and other over-training factors,
“During athletes’ time away from rigorous training, says Dr. Michael Tevald, an Arcadia University associate professor of physical therapy, their muscular and cardiovascular systems are likely to diminish. In the near term, resting heart rates could rise and their heart’s ability to pump oxygen through the bloodstream could abate.
After weeks—maybe months—away from typical training regimens, many athletes will return to their campuses or teams much further removed from peak muscular or cardiovascular shape than they might after a typical break or offseason.
Anderson has extensively studied conditioning deaths among college athletes, and the prevalence of conditions like rhabdomyolysis, in which rapid muscle breakdown can trigger kidney damage and lead to hospitalization in the wake of overexertion. (More than 40 college athletes have been stricken with the condition over the past decade.)” (“What Does the Coronavirus Do to an Athlete's Body? For many athletes, the greatest risks will come after the crisis passes.” 4/6/2020, Brian Burnsed, https://www.si.com/more-sports/2020/04/06/effects-of-coronavirus-on-athletes-bodies )
Suggestions for Safely Returning to Roundnet Game Play:
Gradual, SLOW, Return To Play is KEY
The same article from Sports Illustrated suggests a slow return to sport may help to decrease risk of injury,
“Sports medicine personnel say that giving athletes adequate time to gradually rebuild from these deficits, particularly for those in sports who are poised to return in hot summer months, will be essential.”
(“What Does the Coronavirus Do to an Athlete's Body? For many athletes, the greatest risks will come after the crisis passes.” 4/6/2020, Brian Burnsed, https://www.si.com/more-sports/2020/04/06/effects-of-coronavirus-on-athletes-bodies )
Proper Training and Recovery Strategies Play HUGE Role to Staying Injury-Free During Return to Sport
Sport Specific Training
When training for any sport it is important to train the specific demands and movements involved in that sport.
I personally think it is important when playing roundnet to be a well rounded ‘mover’.
For roundnet that means being able to perform technical skills while simultaneously performing a combination of dynamic and unpredictable movements - utilizing balance, stability, reaction time, body control, power/explosiveness, finesse, and many other things, depending on your individual play.
That is while also possessing the cardiovascular endurance to last 6+ hours in a roundnet tournament.
It is important to train specific to the demands of your sport - Not only for performance sake, but to help stay injury free!
It’s a science and an art, BABY!
Check out my roundnet based home workout program on Roundnet World HERE: https://roundnetworld.com/blogs/be-a-better-baller/roundnet-spikeball-exercise-training-program
Importance of Recovery and Rest in a Healthy Return to Sport
Sleep, Recovery and Injury Cause/Prevention
Sleep is crucial in the days leading up to a tournament, for playing purposes and if you are driving a long way you don’t want to risk falling asleep at the wheel.
In regards to the importance of sleep, the Gatorade Sports Science Institute states,
“Sleep is one of the body’s most important biological functions with roles in performance, cognition, learning, development and mental and physical health. While there are numerous consequences as a result of inadequate sleep, identifying sleep problems and following the recommended sleep guidelines can help ensure sporting performance is maximized.” (“Sleep and athletes”, 2017, Halson, Shona, Gatorade Sports Science Institute, https://www.gssiweb.org/sports-science-exchange/article/sse-167-sleep-and-athletes)
After the tournament it is crucial that you recover properly, as well!
Sleep, as well as hydration and consuming nutritious food, play a huge role in all of that!
Athletes Benefit from Adequate Sleep
How athletes may benefit from adequate sleep:
- “Another means of examining the effect of sleep on performance is to extend the amount of sleep an athlete receives and determine the effects on subsequent performance.
- Mah et al, instructed six basketball players to obtain as much extra sleep as possible following two weeks of normal sleep habits.
While limited, this data suggests that increasing the amount of sleep an athlete receives may significantly enhance performance.” (“Sleep and athletes”, 2017, Halson, Shona, Gatorade Sports Science Institute, https://www.gssiweb.org/sports-science-exchange/article/sse-167-sleep-and-athletes
Get your 8 or more hours of sleep, ESPECIALLY before/after a hard day of physical or mental exertion.
Get to know your body, be aware of what it needs, and when.
You may need more sleep the days after a Spikeball tournament, as opposed to after visiting your relatives for the winter holidays.
Listen to your body, and treat it well. YOU deserve it! (Annnnd … so does your roundnet teammate)
Youth Athletes and Sleep
“A 2014 study in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine found that adolescents who played a game following a night of fewer than 8 hours of sleep were nearly twice as likely to get injured as those who got 8 hours of sleep.” (“Chronic lack of sleep is associated with increased sports injuries in adolescent athletes”, 2014)
Below are suggestions regarding athlete sleep needs, according to research by the Gatorade Sport Science Institute,
“Evidence suggests that when adolescents are allowed to sleep as much as they want, they sleep for an average of 9.25 hrs per night.
Further, during mid-puberty, there is an increased desire to sleep during the day even when sufficient sleep occurred at nighttime.
From the literature available, it appears that adolescents require a minimum of 9 hrs per night of sleep.”
How Much Sleep Are Youth Athletes ACTUALLY Getting?
In regard to how much sleep adolescent athletes are actually getting the authors went on to say,
“Despite the recommendation that 12–18 year olds obtain a minimum of 9 hrs of sleep per night, research shows that adolescents sleep between 7.5 and 8.5 hrs per night.
While there is certainly going to be individual differences, it is clear that many adolescents are not meeting the minimum requirements for the recommended hours of sleep.” (“Sleep and athletes”, 2017, Halson, Shona, Gatorade Sports Science Institute, https://www.gssiweb.org/sports-science-exchange/article/sse-167-sleep-and-athletes)
Regardless if you are a child, adolescent, or adult - SLEEP and recovery are an important aspect of injury prevention, as well as performing your best.
More Positive Sleep and Athlete Data
Recovery, sleep and women’s tennis players,
“Tennis: When women’s tennis players increased their nightly sleep to 10 hours, they also experienced improved sprint times by 1.5 seconds as well as their serve accuracy by 23.8 percent.” (“Study shows sleep extension improves athletic performance and mood”, 2009, AMERICAN ACADEMY OF SLEEP MEDICINE)
Sleep and Major League Baseball Players
In 2013, a study published in the American Academy of Sleep Medicine followed 80 Major League Baseball players over a period of three seasons. Their sleeping habits were recorded before the start of the 2010 season and ranked according to the Epworth sleepiness scale.
Players who scored high for sleepiness were less than 40 percent likely to still be playing three seasons later, as compared with 72 percent of players who scored low on sleepiness.” (“Studies link fatigue and sleep to MLB performance and career longevity”, 2013, https://aasm.org/studies-link-fatigue-and-sleep-to-mlb-performance-and-career-longevity/)
More Strategies for Post Roundnet Tournament/Play Recovery:
A good rule of thumb for athletes to follow is to drink at least an .5-1 ounce of water per pound of body weight throughout a typical day (e.g., someone weighing 160 pounds should drink 80-160 ounces of water a day).
Sweat rate per individual may vary so check the color of your urine leading up to, during and after the tournament! ‘Clear and Copious’ in regards to your urine, is a great little rhyme to help with being aware of your hydration.
I like to add pink himalayan salt to my food and sometimes I’ll pour a nickel sized amount in my hand, and drink that with a cup of water. High quality salt, such as himalayan pink salt, which also contains other minerals will help prevent cramps and keep you playing at your best!
Help aid recovery by refueling yourself with high quality protein, fats and carbohydrates.
My brief suggestions:
- Try to fill your ‘plate’ with high quality carbs, proteins and healthy fats.
Think of your ‘plate’ -
About 35-70% protein, 15-30% high quality fat, 20-40% carbs
Carbs: Veggies, Sweet potato, potato, whole grain rye and sourdough bread, oatmeal, local fruit but in my opinion not all carbs should come from fruit. Foods ‘grown’ - not ‘made’ or ‘processed’
Veggies: I try to add dark leafy greens into my diet such as spinach, arugula, kale, chard, as well as various peppers, broccoli, and other seasonal/local vegetables.
- Proteins: High quality proteins free of preservatives and unnecessary sodium or added sugar, preservative free chicken, grass fed beef, eggs, almonds, fish, almond butter, sunflower seed butter, various nuts, etc.
- Fats: Various nuts, walnuts, grass fed meats, nut butter, egg yolks, avocado, full fat yogurt.
- Be AWARE of how foods make you feel!
- I’m not big on “counting” calories or ‘macros’, but just being aware of choosing quality foods that will help and not hinder your performance, and recovery.
For more information and strategies for roundnet tournament preparation, during-play fueling and post-play recovery - please refer to one of my previous articles: “Tournament Prep Like a Pro” - https://roundnetworld.com/blogs/be-a-better-baller/pro-spikeball-roundnet-tournament-preparation
Feeling a Lil Sore? HEAT, Not Ice, is Your Best Friend!
Recent data shows that HEAT may be a preferable method for recovery in athletes!
The authors of “Hot or Cold Therapy, What’s Best for Muscle Recovery” state,
“Heat relaxes muscles. “While icy temperatures help reduce inflammation, heat helps dilate blood vessels and promotes blood flow,” Kurtz says. If your muscle is spasming, heat is best.”
When pain from injuries and over-inflammation are too much to bear, ice can be a good means of helping to recover. If you have an injury or too much inflammation, steer clear of heat therapy for at least two to three days.
“After the acute phase of the injury, you can use heat to help with recovery and relax muscles,” Kurtz says. “A heat pack or submersion in a hot tub may help with muscle strains and promoting range of motion.” (Hot Or Cold Therapy: What’s Best For Muscle Recovery?, 2018, Henry Ford Health System Staff, https://www.henryford.com/blog/2018/08/hot-cold-therapy-whats-best-for-muscle-recovery )
As always, listen to your body!
Return to Play - Take It Slow
Take it slow - Don’t play too often, too soon.
Make sure you are recovering properly.
Listen to your body.
Oh, and always, HAVE FUN!
Check the links for more roundnet articles!
VIDEO - Coleman Epperson and Ryder Riva - Utah Roundnet Tournament Highlights
- “Did the NFL Lockout Expose the Achilles Heel of Competitive Sports?”, J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2011;41(10):702–705. doi:10.2519/jospt.2011.0107, https://www.jospt.org/doi/abs/10.2519/jospt.2011.0107
- “NFL Injuries Before and After the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA)”, May 4, 2018, Zachary O. Binney, PhD1; Kyle E. Hammond, MD2; Mitchel Klein, PhD1; Michael Goodman, MD MPH1; A. Cecile J.W. Janssens, PhD, Department of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University; Department of Orthopedics, Emory University School of Medicine
- “NFL lockout, lack of preparatory training leads to 12 Achilles tendon injuries”, December 15, 2011, https://www.healio.com/orthopedics/sports-medicine/news/online/%7B89c219ee-679f-4c24-8f33-33058835d5e2%7D/nfl-lockout-lack-of-preparatory-training-leads-to-12-achilles-tendon-injuries
- “Did the NFL lockout expose the Achilles heel of competitive sports?” 2011, Myer GD, Faigenbaum AD, Cherny CE, Heidi RS, Jr., Hewett TE., J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. doi: 10.2519/jospt.2011.0107.
- “The NBA Lockout Has Increased Injury Rates”, February 7, 2012, David Hess, https://www.teamrankings.com/blog/nba/the-nba-lockout-has-increased-injury-rates
- “Studies link fatigue and sleep to MLB performance and career longevity”, 2013, https://aasm.org/studies-link-fatigue-and-sleep-to-mlb-performance-and-career-longevity/
- “Study shows sleep extension improves athletic performance and mood”, 2009, AMERICAN ACADEMY OF SLEEP MEDICINE, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25028798
- “Chronic lack of sleep is associated with increased sports injuries in adolescent athletes”, 2014, Milewski MD, Skaggs DL, Bishop GA, Pace JL, Ibrahim DA, Wren TA, Barzdukas A. , https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25028798
- “Sleep and athletes”, 2017, Halson, Shona, Gatorade Sports Science Institute, https://www.gssiweb.org/sports-science-exchange/article/sse-167-sleep-and-athletes
- “What Does the Coronavirus Do to an Athlete's Body? For many athletes, the greatest risks will come after the crisis passes.” 4/6/2020, Brian Burnsed, https://www.si.com/more-sports/2020/04/06/effects-of-coronavirus-on-athletes-bodies
- Hot Or Cold Therapy: What’s Best For Muscle Recovery?, 2018, Henry Ford Health System Staff, https://www.henryford.com/blog/2018/08/hot-cold-therapy-whats-best-for-muscle-recovery