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Avoid Sports Injuries: Tips From an Olympic Doctor

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Medscape: Are there any specific exercises that you would recommend?

Beim: Strengthening of the hips. I always harp on people and their hips because many people do not think about them. Also, rotator cuff strength. You may see people in the gym pulling huge weights for the shoulders, but you rarely see them using bands and small weights to work their rotator cuff. These people are more likely to develop bursitis and impingement than the person who works their rotator cuff. If people added into their normal exercise regimen training some of the muscles that they don't usually think about, along with flexibility exercises and stretching, it could make a big difference in their performance and injury rate.

Medscape: What are the top three pieces of advice you would give athletes during competition?

Beim: That's easy. No. 1, get your rest. We make sure that the athletes get to the Games location in plenty of time before their competition so that they can get rest and their bodies can adapt to the different time zones.

No. 2, don't change anything. Don't start a new diet or take any new supplements. Don't change your routine. The Olympic Games is not a time to start something new. I have had athletes tell me about someone from another country who is using this or doing that and ask whether they should try it. And I say, "No, not now." During the Olympic Games is one of the worst times to change anything in your routine. 

No. 3: Enjoy the Games. There is something so special about the Olympic Games. I am an athlete but not nearly at Olympic caliber. I am just there as a doctor, but when walking through an Olympic village, watching an event, or having a meal at the dining hall, the energy is so amazing. It is different from any other sporting competition that I have ever had the pleasure of attending. It is such an incredible experience and opportunity. So just take it all in and use it to accelerate your passion for what you are doing.

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