Motocross is an exciting and increasingly popular sport with national and international audiences, highly-trained athletes, and loyal fans. For participants, it is a physically demanding and high-adrenaline sport. To help stay on track and avoid injury, it is important to take precautions before you ride and respond appropriately to injuries.
Despite the thrill of gravity-defying jumps and nonstop action, motocross can often pack quite the punch on the athlete’s body. The nature of the sport means that frequent accidents, falls, and collisions are not uncommon. Some of the more common injuries in motocross include:
- Fractures and sprains of the collarbone, wrist, ankle, and knee
- ACL tears and ruptures
- Shoulder dislocations or related injuries
If you sustain an injury on the track, seek medical attention immediately. It’s important to have your injury promptly evaluated by an orthopaedic specialist.
Training Tips and Techniques
To help prevent injuries, it is vital that all riders, regardless of age and experience, wear proper safety equipment. The value of a good helmet, boots, googles, and gloves cannot be overstated. Most tracks will require certain gear requirements, so be sure to respect and follow these rules. Additional equipment including chest protectors, braces, and other padding can provide a safe, and ultimately more fun, riding experience.
Education on proper techniques from trained professionals can contribute to overall safety and well-being while riding. As with most sports, stretching prior to riding can help to loosen muscles, which helps increase flexibility and avoid cramping or tightness.
Other safety tips include:
- Be sure you can see the course at all times. Dust and weather elements should not obstruct the visibility of the course. Although motocross is generally an all-weather sport, the risk of injury can intensify under certain inclement conditions.
- Know your ability. An understanding and attention to a rider’s skill level can also help prevent injuries. Riding beyond this level too soon and attempting challenging tricks or jumps can create dangerous situations.
- Take it slow. Motocross involves a steady progression of ability. With this attitude, riders can stay safe while improving and learning at appropriate paces.
Before any race or practice, be sure to eat right to maximize your results. Balance your diet with plenty of calcium, carbohydrates, and proteins to ensure you are best equipped for the challenge ahead. Stay hydrated with plenty of fluids before, during, and after the race. Prior to your ride you also should inspect your bike to make sure it meets requirements for safe racing.
As with other high-adrenaline and fast-paced sports, mental preparation can help you maximize your performance. Visualize the success of your starts, laps, and finish rather than feeling overwhelmed with the volume of those around you. Careful meditation and focus could help you ride your best race yet.
After your finish, it is important to hydrate and rest, allowing your body to recover from the demands of racing. Be sure to replenish your body’s fluids with lots of water and continue to maintain a healthy diet.
Seek appropriate medical attention for any injuries you may sustain during the race. If an injury requires some rest and recovery time, be sure to follow your doctor’s orders, and do not return to riding until medically cleared. For long-term safety and success on the track, continually monitor your health and take care of your body.
UPMC Sports Medicine is dedicated to helping motocross athletes avoid injury, improve performance, and get them back to their sport safely and quickly.