Gymnastics is one of the most rigorous sports of today and results in around 100,000 injuries each year. According to coaches at Everest Gymnastics, some of the most common gymnastics injuries are wrist fractures, ACL tears, herniated disks, and cartilage damage. Many young gymnasts train intensely for 20 hours or more each week. As routines become longer and more difficult, the risk of injury increases.
Everest Gymnastics takes extreme measures to ensure the safety of their students. While proper equipment, gear, padding, and hands-on instructor attention are crucial, each athlete and their family must also take steps to prevent injuries.
Qi Han of Everest Gymnastics explains that the first step toward injury prevention is physical preparation. This means staying in shape and engaging in regular flexibility, strength, and aerobic exercises. During these exercises, students should take the time to stretch and “warm up” their muscles, bones, and joints. Just three to five minutes of warm-ups, which should include running, walking, jumping jacks, and exercise-specific stretches, can mean the difference between pain and participation. Han also asserts that hydration is essential for both effective cooling and muscle performance.
As with other sports, students of Everest Gymnastics are required to dress appropriately. This is to ensure excess materials and loose-fitting clothing do not get in the way or serve as a distraction. Depending on the exercise, footwear may be required, although bare feet are best for some skills. Coaches will alert students of any safety gear required, which may include pads, braces, or hand grips.
Each specific set of skill requires a physically demanding series of movements. The coaches at Everest Gymnastics first guide students through these actions and determine if they are physically – and emotionally – prepared for the challenge. Even the slightest missteps are corrected prior to moving forward. All gymnasts are required to wait until a coach is available for spotting and monitoring before attempting a new or challenging skill. Everest Gymnastics may require the use of a safety harness in the beginning stages of training.
All Everest Gymnastics coaches are knowledgeable in first aid and can tend to minor injuries, such as small cuts, strains, and bruises. Gymnasts are cautioned that injuries may require in-depth medical attention and coaches will always seek emergency treatment for open wounds, fractures, concussions, and other significant injuries.
Returning to the mat
Coach Han asserts that most injuries are not permanent but notes that athletes must exercise caution when returning to the gym. In case of injuries that require temporary class suspension, an Everest Gymnastics coach will discuss reentry into the program on a case-by-case basis. Injuries should be completely healed before returning to gymnastics. A medical release may be requested.
There is no way to guarantee that a student will not experience an accident or overuse injury while participating in gymnastics. With the proper precautions, the impact may be minimal. Everest Gymnastics has always put the safety of its students first and will continue to exercise extreme caution for students from preschool to professional.