Stretching and Flexing: Keys to the Prevention of Sports Injuries

I volunteer as the team doctor for a few high school sports teams in my community. One year, I was working with a local football team, and the players were looking promising. But, by the end of the season, we’d lost seven of our players to injuries. It ultimately cost us a chance at the playoffs.  


I used AMNRT and found that all the players who sustained injuries returned at least one positive reflex. If that reflex could’ve been corrected at the beginning of the season, their injuries might’ve never occurred.  


The next season, I treated every member of the team as though they had already sustained an injury, testing their reflexes for potential risks, such as compromised balance. I then showed them how to do my “Romano Stretches” and required they perform them before every practice and game, as well as during halftimes.  


That season we sustained zero season-ending injuries. Only two players missed a total of five games all season due to injuries. Since these stretches have worked so well for the teams I work with, I like share them with all of my patients. 


Romano Stretches. 


  1. SeizaSitting. Start in a kneeling position, and gently sit back on your heels. It’s important that the tops of your feet are flat on the floor. This means that your toenails are making contact with the floor rather than your toes being curled under.  


This stretch restores your balance and stretches your feet. Hold for at least 10 seconds. 


  1. Reclined Yoga Stretch.Begin lying flat on your back. Bend your left knee and pull it into your chest. Then, guide the bent knee to your right shoulder using your right hand, and stretch your left arm out on the floor. You should be looking at your outstretched hand if that feels alright for your neck.


This is good for stretching your lower back and improving the flexibility of your shoulders. Hold the pose for a slow count of 3, and repeat 3 times on each side.  


  1. Wrist Stretch.While standing, place your left forearm (parallel to the floor) on your belly. Use your right hand to pull the wrist to the right.


This helps with wrist, elbow, and shoulder problems. Do this in tandem with the next stretch. 


  1. Trunk Rotation.This stretch can be done at the same time as your wrist stretches. While pulling on your wrist, rotate your pelvis and torso as far as you can in the direction you’re pulling the wrist.


Trunk rotations help with the flexibility of the lower back. Do these two stretches once per side.  


  1. Elbow Stretch.While standing, bring both of your arms to a90 degree angle, as if you were doing a bicep curl. Next quickly fling your arms down by your sides. Be sure not to bring them back up too quickly because that will actually reverse the effects of the stretch.  


This stretch brings your elbows into alignment. Do this stretch 3 to 5 times.  


  1. Rib Realignment.While standing, bring your arms straight in front of you at shoulderlevel,  parallel with the floor. Bend your elbows out to the side so that the knuckles of each hand are facing each other. Then, fling your elbows back as if you were trying to get them to touch behind your back.  


This stretch is good for your ribs, chest, and upper back. Repeat 1 or 2 times.  


  1. Lower Back Stretch.While standing, make fists with each of your hands and place them on the small of your back (the flat part right above your buttocks). Then, arch your back as much as you can, trying to bring a curve into the upper, middle, and lower back. When leaning back to arch, draw your chin into your chest to protect your neck.


This stretch restores your balance. Repeat 1 or 2 times.  


  1. Hip Flexor Stretch.Stand 2 to 3 feet in front of the seat of a stable chair, facing away from the chair. Place the top of your left foot on the seat of a chair. Lean back until you feel a stretch in the front of your hips. Hold for a slow count of 3. Then, bend your right knee to dip down to deepen the stretch, hold this position for a count of 3 as well.


This exercise stretches your quads and hip flexors, benefits your lower back, and helps with shoulder injuries. Repeat once on each side. 


Whether you regularly play sports or not, this series of stretches helps relieve pain, improve flexibility, restore balance, and prevent injuries. Do them before any physical activity or just as a part of your daily wellness routine.