Southeast MO State offers advice for avoiding sports injuries

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Tony Romo. Tiger Woods. Lionel Messi. Not even the world's most elite athletes can avoid injury.

That doesn't bode well for the average weekend warrior.

Inspired by the warmth of spring, many people will decide to get outside and do something athletic. This, despite having spent the last four months hibernating.

Southeast Missouri State University women's soccer coach Heather Nelson is in the business of winning at a high level.

To do that, she's got to keep her players out of the training room and on the field.

"Keeping these girls healthy is our top priority," said Nelson.

Ezmie Gonzalez is a freshman phenom, tearing up the OVC with her speed, footwork, and tactical skills.

All of which make her a target for opposing teams, "She is a target because she is so good.  If she's on the sideline, if she's worried about her ankle, or knee, they don't have to worry about her," noted Nelson.

It's strength and conditioning coach Catie Furbush's job to keep Ezmie, and the rest of the team, healthy.

Weight training was the facet of Ezmie's game (and perhaps yours?), that was lacking.

"I never worked out with weights until I came here. I hated it. But now I see how much stronger and better I feel, so I love it," said Gonzalez.

She hits the weight room three to four times a week, something most people don't do, but should.

"It helps prevent injury if your body is strong. If the muscles around your knees are strong enough to support them. It's important," remarked Furbush. Joey Waugh is the athletic trainer for the soccer team.

His advice for everyone deciding to blow the dust off the ol' running shoes and hit the trail?

"Take it slow. Warm up. Stretch. And make sure you cool down too," said Waugh.

Ankles, knees, muscles - injury can strike anywhere if you're not smart about getting your exercise groove back. If you want to stay in the game you've got to more than warm up and cool down.

"You've got to eat right, get at least 8 hours of sleep or more. And it's so important to let your body recover. You've got to give it a day of rest if you've pushed it really hard," said Nelson.

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