Listen to your coach! A prescription for young athletes

In South Texas, we love our high school football. So what better place to bring together 100 of the nation’s most talented high school players to compete than right here in San Antonio — a.k.a. Military City, U.S.A.?

That showcase of athletic ability, the 2018 U.S. Army All-American Bowl, will kick off Saturday, Jan. 6 in the Alamodome. In recent years, some of those players have stopped by University Hospital to bring a little cheer to kids in our pediatric unit.

In honor of the big game, we asked Coach Ben Cook, athletic coordinator and head football coach at MacArthur High School, to share with Health Focus readers what New Year’s resolutions he might give to student athletes to keep them strong, healthy and injury-free.

Here’s his Top 5 list:

  1. Make a commitment to hydration.  Choose water over sodas at meal time.  It will help with weight management and keeps you ready to be your best at workouts and games
  2. Get some rest!  Commit yourself to getting eight hours a night.  Make quality sleep a priority so you can have a more productive day
  3.  Incorporate fruits and vegetables in your daily diet.  Choose fruit over sugary snacks.  Choose vegetables over things like French fries and chips.
  4. See a doctor at least once a year!  Be proactive with your health!
  5. Limit your time on electronic devices!  Talk a walk, have a conversation with a friend, read a book.  Make a commitment “to unplug.”

That advice makes a lot of sense to Dr. Robert Sanders, a pediatrician with University Medicine Associates and associate medical director of University Health System’s PediExpress.

Dr. Sanders sees a lot of student athletes who sustain injuries while playing sports, and who don’t follow the common-sense advice offered by Coach Cook.

“Many student athletes don’t recognize how important it is that in order to play at their best for the whole season, they need to take care of their bodies and not just practice their sport,” Dr. Sanders said.

Photo by Tim Hipps, Defense Video Imagery Distribution System