The importance of pre-game prep: soccer

October 29, 2019 — by Anjali Nuggehalli

Sophomore Nika Bagherian was sprinting down the field during her soccer game in August when she felt a sharp pain shoot up her calf. The other team was quickly advancing toward the goal Bagherian was defending, but she was immobilized.

After being inspected by the athletic trainer at her game, Bagherian was told that she her calf was sprained and possibly even torn.  

“The trainer really frightened me because my injury happened at the beginning of the season,” Bagherian said. “I didn’t want to risk being out for the whole season and letting my team down.”

Fortunately, after taking a few days off of soccer, Bagherian’s calf pain dulled, presenting itself as just a moderate sprain. However, Bagherian knew that the injury could’ve easily been prevented. 

Bagherian recalled not stretching before playing the game in which she got injured, and instead, jumped right into strenuous physical activity. She knew that if she had warmed up properly, her calf wouldn’t have been as stiff during the game. 

Additionally, after visiting the doctor, Bagherian was told that she had lactic acid buildup in her calf. This occurs when too much acid builds up in the bloodstream. Drinking water, especially before exercise, helps the body rid itself of any excess acid. Bagherian did not properly hydrate before her match, which she considered to be a huge contributor to her injury.

“Overall, preventing injuries comes down to preparation,” Bagherian said. “You have to take the right steps to ensure that your body can handle the physical and mental strain you put on it during your sport.”

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At UC Berkeley, PhD student Abrar Abidi and research assistant Yvonne Hao have embarked on a goal of creating hand sanitizer for the Bay Area's most vulnerable populations, including the homeless and the incarcerated. Their hand sanitizer includes glycerol mixed with other products, in accordance with a formula from the World Health Organization. So far, they are producing 120 hundreds of gallons of sanitizer each week. Photo courtesy of Roxanne Makasdjian with UC Berkeley.


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