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Weightlifting: Helpful or Harmful

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Weightlifting: helpful or harmful
In my school this year, four people were in back braces. Three of these four, were from weightlifting. And who knows, there could be many more just not yet diagnosed. Weightlifting is a sport known to make athletes faster and stronger, but ironically, many of the lifts they’re doing can lead to serious spinal injuries. Athletes need to have the correct coaching, know their limits, and understand possible consequences, if they want to be successful in this sport.

Most athlete’s skills and abilities start with the coaching they receive. Are our coaches always right on what they are teaching their players though? Weightlifting is a very competitive sport that if taught wrong, can lead to intense injuries. LIVESTRONG reports that injuries to the spine that result from doing lifts, typically happen because of improper form. We put much faith in our coaches to teach us this correct form, so we hope they are educated on it correctly. Coaches also teach their athletes to give 110%, and exceed their limits. In a sport like body building, it’s not always safe. Doing things such as starting to lift at too young of an age, can be extremely bad for your spine. Doctor Rao McClellan did a study for The North American Spine Society, and concurred that lifters should start at an age like fifteen, instead of thirteen and younger. His biggest concern for young athletes is how skeletally immature they are, and that their spines aren’t fully developed.

Even though there were three spinal fractures from my school this year, I don’t believe it was the incorrect teaching, or the wrong form. I truly feel that these athletes just pushed themselves too far. They are so motivated to be the strongest, fastest, and best player on their team, so they don’t know when is enough. Will it take for them to be in the hospital, or going through surgery to realize it?

Doctor Katherine Blanchette wrote that competitive weightlifters are prone to develop a spinal defect call spondylolysis. This leads to pain, muscle spasms, and sometimes even surgery. This is just one of many problems that can happen from incorrectly lifting weights. Athletes need to know when is enough, and what their bodies can truly handle. If not this sport will do the very opposite of improve their athletic abilities. One of the most common consequences of a spinal fracture, is having to sit out of sports for sometimes a whole year! That’s pretty ironic since weightlifting is supposed to improve an athletes performance.

Athletes need to have the correct coaching, know their limits, and understand possible consequences if they want to be a successful weightlifter. As a player, I certainly do whatever it takes to be the best. It’s awesome to be driven, and weightlifting can actually be something extremely rewarding. Next time you’re in the weight room pushing to get the best max you can, just remember to think: am i doing this right, can i handle it, and is it worth it?



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