Antonio’s Tips on Avoiding Sports Injuries

As Lakeside athletes return to their sports and competitive seasons, many will inevitably experience sports injuries. High school sports injuries of all kinds, such as torn MCLs, broken bones, and concussions, are extremely common, accounting for half a million doctor visits per year. At Lakeside, 66% of polled athletes report that they have experienced an injury at some point in high school. Yet only 33% of athletes spent the recommended time taking preventive measures to protect their bodies.  

Antonio Gudiño, Lakeside’s head athletic trainer, runs the Ed Putnam Sports Medicine Facility, along with Assistant Trainer Kayla Schmidt. It’s better known as the “training room,” where trainers primarily treat students for sports-related injuries. To better understand how athletes should take care of themselves, I headed to the training room to talk with Antonio. 


Nara C. ’25 (NC): On average, how many students do you treat per day?

Antonio Gudiño (AG): It depends on what events are going on, or what sports are practicing, but if it was a regular practice day, between 20 and 30. And that’s including students that need stuff unrelated to athletics.

NC: What are some key practices athletes should work into their routine to prevent sports injuries? 

AG: (Laughs) You’ve heard me say it a lot: stretching, rolling out, and massaging helps maintain the body after the muscles have been stressed in sports practice. I’d utilize icing for treating athletes post-injury, but not as a preventative measure. 

NC: How often should athletes stretch, roll, and massage?

AG: That depends on the athlete and how much they practice. You want to spend at least 10 or 15 minutes, if not 20, before the warmup or after practice to incorporate rolling, stretching, and just going back to the status quo of the body. That’s what a cooldown or a warmup helps with. And that’s why I would say to try to do it after practice because part of the cooldown is to get the body back to where it was before you started practice. 

NC: What do you see as the main cause of Lakeside athletes’ injuries, not counting trauma injuries like concussions?

You want to spend at least 10 or 15 minutes, if not 20, before the warmup or after practice to incorporate rolling, stretching, and just going back to the status quo of the body.

AG: A lot of it has to do with hip mobility— it’s not specific to a sport. Humans move, and we eventually do things that are not quite made for the body to do, but athletes do them anyway.

But aside from that, I would say the lack of preparation to start a sport — meaning no preseason or somebody who has never played a sport suddenly getting themselves completely into sports. Start preparing the body for the demands of a sport that are going to be five or six days a week with a longer preseason. In middle school, you have way less practice time and way fewer games, so going from the middle school to the upper school, you see a stark difference. Too much, too soon.

NC: What message would you like to leave athletes with?

AG: Have a balanced life. Do not miss stuff because of sports practice. It’s hard when [sports] consume your life; if it does that, stress levels heighten, and there’s a lot of research suggesting stress equals injuries. So having less stress will help in general with having less injuries. The American culture can be very single-sport minded — “I want my kid to be the best tennis player, so they play the same sport throughout their whole life” — and that’s when you have a heightened risk of burnout and injuries.

This interview has been edited for clarity.