Texas Rangers’ outfielder, Carlos Gomez, will miss 4-6 weeks due to his right hamstring strain. The injury occurred on May 14th, when he was running for the home base. He says, “I was going full speed and I didn’t want to try to slide because I thought I could get hurt and I accelerated again.”
Hamstring strains are a very common in sports that involves ballistic actions such as sprinting. In such sports, those injuries are almost always type 1 hamstring strain and affect biceps femoris. Some of the risk factors include poor flexibility, poor posture, muscle imbalance, improper warm-up, muscle fatigue, lack of neuromuscular control, overuse, improper technique, and previous history.
Carlos Gomez also had a hamstring strain last year on April 16th. Previous history is a huge risk factor for hamstring strains. The nature of hamstring strain makes it chronic and recurring. For this reason, anyone with a previous hamstring injury should take every preventative measure possible. Another significant risk factor is improper warm-up. Compared to other sports, baseball players are less warmed-up at the point of sprinting. To prevent it, coaches and players must ensure that players are sufficiently warmed up before going on to the field.
Rehabilitation focuses on optimizing flexibility, posture, strength, muscular balance and neuromuscular control. Initially, the restoration the flexibility and strength in the injured hamstring is the priority, and then the focus is on increasing the balance and stability of the pelvis and the muscles around it.
Lastly, the coaches need to optimize their athletes’ training programs. For hamstring strain prevention, fatigue management is the key. Before going into the season, accumulated fatigue needs to be brought down to optimize athletes’ performance and health. Another easily overlooked factor after hamstring strain is gaining back the confidence to sprint at their full potential without fear. Athletes are terrified of re-injury and this makes athletes under-perform after injuries. In this case, seeing a sport psychologist may help.