By Sam Cortes, Communications Coordinator
Ultimate, played with a flying disc, has existed since the early 1970s. A limited-contact sport that combines elements of soccer, football, and basketball, ultimate players cut, guard, jump, throw, catch, and dive with an outstretched arm for 60 to 90 minutes.
It’s common for players to have multiple games, playing up to an average of six games in a two-day tournament. This can result in five to 15 miles of running in two days.
Sometimes players are not ready for the sport’s intricate sequences of movement and fast reactions, which can lead to injury. Here are the most common ultimate injuries and some tips on how to prevent them.
Shoulder impingement occurs when the tendons and bursa in the shoulder become compressed, leading to pain and inflammation.
Rotator cuff tears are also common shoulder injuries in ultimate players, often resulting from repetitive overhead throws or awkward landings from jumps. The injury involves a tear in one or more of the muscles or tendons that make up the rotator cuff, leading to pain, weakness, and limited range of motion in the shoulder.
Knee injuries are prevalent, as players are constantly jumping, pivoting, and landing. These are all activities that put stress on the knee joint, and injuries may include ligament strains, tears, or damage to the meniscus. Symptoms typically include pain, swelling, and reduced range of motion in the knee.
Ankle sprains can occur when a player lands awkwardly while jumping to catch the disc or due to the high-intensity cutting, changing directions, and sudden stopping involved in gameplay.
Sprains occur when the ligaments that support the ankle are stretched or torn, while fractures involve a break in the bone. Both injuries cause pain, swelling, and difficulty bearing weight on the affected ankle.
Prevention: Build Strength, Warm Up, Practice Technique, and Recover
As with any sport, it’s helpful to warm up and stretch for at least 30 minutes before playing. For ultimate, focus stretches on groins, hips, hamstrings, Achilles tendons, and quadriceps.
You can also build strength and flexibility through regular workouts and conditioning exercises that target these key muscle groups.
When practicing or playing, use proper technique when throwing, catching, and landing to reduce strain on muscles and joints. After a game, rest, and recover to allow your body time to heal.
Most importantly, listen to your body and seek medical attention promptly if you suspect an injury by booking an appointment with one of the experienced clinicians at the Sport Manitoba Clinic.