Thanksgiving Pick-Up Football Game Injuries Preventable

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CHICAGO, Nov. 25 (UPI) — A Chicago-area surgeon says many sprains, bruises, broken bones and other injuries incurred in Thanksgiving pick-up football games are preventable.

Dr. Pietro Tonino of the Loyola University Medical Center said many injuries suffered in friendly family football games can be avoided if people remember to:

— Touch, not tackle. Tackle football greatly increases the injury risk.

— Warm up and stretch. You’re more likely to suffer injuries if muscles are cold. Before kick-off, warm up by jogging, running in place, doing jumping jacks, etc. for a few minutes. Then slowly and gently stretch, holding each stretch for 30 seconds.

— Don’t wear cleats. If a player wears cleats, there’s a risk that a foot will be stuck in one position while the rest of the body is moving a different direction, leading to injury.

— Wear mouth guards, which can save hundreds of dollars in dental bills.

— Wear loose-fitting clothes. Sweats are flexible, reducing the risk of injury.

— Act your age and fitness levels. If you’re 40, don’t play like you’re 20. If you’re way out of shape, don’t play at all.

— Avoid alcohol both before and during your Turkey Bowl.

— Don’t play hurt.

— At the end of the game, don’t forget to stretch again. This will help reduce muscle soreness the next day.

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