By JOSEPH PHILLIPS
In observance of National Athletic Training Month, Bo Leonard, a certified athletic trainer for Athletico, 1644 E. Hyde Park Blvd., is providing health and fitness tips for athletes throughout the community.
According to the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, National Athletic Training Month is held every March in order to spread awareness about all that athletic trainers do.
Leonard said that many athletes obtain injuries when they change their workout routines coming out of the “off season.” He said the most common injuries that occur among athletes are shin splints, pulled hamstrings, calf strains and sore arm/shoulders.
“As Hyde Park athletes start to hit the field we think it’s a great time to inform the public about these tips,” said Leonard, who has a Master’s Degree in Physical Education in Cardio (Eastern Illinois University) and a certification in Performance Enhancement therapy.
As an Athletico trainer, he has worked as Head Athletic Trainer for Hillcrest High School, Assistant and Head Athletic Trainer of Major League Soccer’s Chicago Fire and a Certified Athletic Trainer/Intern for the National Football League Chicago Bears during the 2007 season.
Leonard recommends that athletes follow these three fitness tips before playing a sport or working out:
Take it slow:
“Most young athletes often have a lot of pent up energy from inactivity during the winter months,” Leonard said. “Going too fast or too soon can be a “recipe for an injury.”
Take time to stretch:
Leonard said Dynamic Stretching, also known as Static Stretching, should be applied before a workout or a practice to help decrease the likelihood of an injury while actually improving overall performance.
Strengthen the core:
Leonard said most athletes like to focus on strengthening their arms and legs and neglect their core muscle groups. He said core muscle exercises would help improve an athlete’s speed, agility and explosiveness on the field.
Leonard, who has been a trainer for 11 years, said his passion is to change how most athletes prepare both mentally, physically, and holistically during the off season.
“My main objective is to help an athlete perform at its highest level,” Leonard said. “So that they will perform at an elite level on the field.”