It’s easy to injure the ligaments in your finger, particularly if you play sports. Ligaments are made of strong fibers that connect your finger bones with one another and provide stability as your fingers bend and straighten. Ligament sprains occur when these joints are overstretched. See your doctor if you injure your finger, even if it appears to be minor. Ligaments can tear and may be accompanied by a bone fracture. Treatment for these injuries depends on the extent of damage.
Finger sprains are graded according to the severity of the ligament injury. Grade 1 and 2 sprains involve ligament fiber damage though part of the ligament remains intact. The ligament is torn completely with a grade 3 sprain. Symptoms of ligament sprains are similar, regardless of the extent of the injury. Pain occurs and may worsen during the first 24 hours after injury. The finger typically swells, making it difficult to move. Bruising may also develop. With a ligament tear, you may hear a popping sound at the time of the injury.
After you have been seen by a doctor and diagnosed with a minor finger sprain, you can do several things to help your finger heal. Immediately stop any activities that increase your pain. Splint your finger by taping it to the finger next to it — which is called “buddy wrapping” — or use a finger splint you find at a drugstore. Apply ice to your finger for 15 to 20 minutes several times each day for the first 3 days after injury. Wrap your finger with an elastic bandage to reduce swelling. Start at the tip of your finger, overlapping half the width of the bandage until you reach the base of your finger. Watch for skin color changes. If the tip of your finger is blue or gray, or it tingles, the bandage is too tight. When cleared by your doctor, gently start bending your finger, working toward a full fist. Early motion is important, as finger stiffness after ligament injury may become permanent if your finger is immobile for too long.
Finger sprains that result in partial tearing of ligament fibers require medical intervention. Partially torn ligaments may heal on their own with proper treatment. These injuries are immobilized longer than a mild sprain, sometimes up to 12 weeks, increasing your risk of a permanently stiff finger. Early protected motion — movement that will not further injure the ligament — is performed under the guidance of a physical or occupational therapist. After the first 3 days of healing, your therapist or doctor may instruct you to apply heat to your finger for 15 to 20 minutes several times each day to increase blood flow and reduce stiffness and pain.
An untreated grade 3 sprain leaves your finger unstable, making it difficult to perform daily tasks. This can also lead to chronic pain and early arthritis. Surgery is often required to repair the torn ligament, particularly if ligament fibers are in the joint space. Ligaments repaired within 3 weeks after injury can usually be sewn back together. However, if more time has passed, the ligament may need to be rebuilt using part of a finger tendon. Treatment after surgery includes extensive rehabilitation. Initially the finger is immobilized, with early movement performed under a therapist’s supervision. Exercises are progressed according to your doctor’s instructions, with the goal of restoring as much function as possible.
The only problem San Francisco 49ers coaches had with Leo Nomellini in 14 seasons was deciding whether he was more valuable on offense or defense.
As a blocker, the 6’3″, 264-pound giant opened huge holes in defensive lines and had the agility to drop back and defend 49ers passers as well as any tackle in the league. On defense, he was an avalanche of a pass rusher and equally adept at stuffing enemy runners.
All-Pro selectors had a similar problem. He was chosen for offensive honors in 1951 and 1952 and on defense in 1953, ’54, ’57, and ’59. He was picked for 10 Pro Bowls in his first 12 seasons, starting at times on either side of the line.
Through most of his career, he showed up on either platoon in an important situation. In 1955, when injuries decimated both San Francisco lines, “The Lion” played virtually 60 minutes a game all season.
Injuries never stopped Nomellini. Born in Lucca, Italy, in 1924, he was a consensus All-American at the University of Minnesota in 1949. The 49ers made him their first draft choice in 1950, and he never missed a game until he retired after the 1963 season — 174 straight games.
The 49ers had numerous stars in addition to Leo during Nomellini’s tenure. Their entire starting backfield of 1954 — Y. A. Tittle, Hugh McElhenny, John Henry Johnson, and Joe Perry — has been enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Yet they never seemed to have a complete team.
One year, the offense would be spectacular but the defense would be poor. When the defense was strong, the offense would go flat. It made the decision of where to play Nomellini all the more important — and all the more impossible.
During off-seasons, Nomellini wrestled professionally around the Bay area. He learned to use some of his “wrasslin’ show” on the football field. Before the ball was snapped, he’d assault opponents with huffs, puffs, growls, snorts, and other animal sounds, all the while screwing his face into a horrible mask.
Of course, if that didn’t scare the opponent to death, Leo would just flatten him.
To learn more about football greats, see:
Super Bowl tickets are notoriously difficult to get, even for people who have plenty of expendable income. The big game is one of the most-watched events on television each year, but that piece of paper that says you have access to actually see the championship in person is what football fans really want — a fact that drives up demand and competition.
If you’re looking to get into the Super Bowl, you have to plan ahead and be prepared to drop some serious cash. Face value for tickets varies by year, but there’s an unmistakable upward trend in cost since the event was created.
If you wanted to get into the very first Super Bowl in 1967, which pitted the Kansas City Chiefs against the Green Bay Packers, you would have paid $6 to $12 for a ticket. By Super Bowl XV, the average ticket price had risen to $40. Fifteen years later at Super Bowl XXX, the average price to get in the gates was $300. By the time the New Orleans Saints lined up against the Indianapolis Colts in 2009, the face value for tickets had reached $500 for the “cheap seats” and $1,000 for a prime spot [source: Passy].
Face-value tickets are not easy to come by, though. There is no direct way for the public to purchase tickets for the Super Bowl. Instead, people have to enter their name in a lottery for a chance to win the opportunity to purchase tickets from the NFL.
There is one way you might get into the Super Bowl without taking out a loan or cashing in your 401k: a sweepstakes. Each year, a few major contests are organized to give away tickets to the big game. Pepsi, the United Way, Snickers, GMC and the NFL itself hold such sweepstakes. Of course, there’s no guarantee you’ll be the lucky winner. In fact, your odds are quite small.
If you’ve decided you’d like to try your hand at getting tickets, you’ll need to know when and where they become available. Go long and we’ll pass you the information on the next page.
Playing defense in football requires exceptional athletic ability. The strong safety must be among the most athletic and instinctive players on the field. He must be able to do a solid job against the run, cover receivers who try to go deep and use his instincts to force turnovers and make plays on the ball.
A strong safety has is to keep the opponent from making any long plays running the ball. Defensive linemen try to keep the offensive line from opening major holes for the backs to exploit. Linebackers make most of the tackles. But the strong safety must be there to make sure the running back does not get more than 5 yards past the line of scrimmage. The strong safety can take a running start and get to the running back unblocked. As a result, he can hit him with a very hard tackle. In addition to putting the back on the ground, the strong safety may try to separate the back from the ball because of the force of the hit.
The strong safety often has the primary coverage responsibilities on the tight end, who is often used on third downs to keep drives alive; stopping him is a very important aspect of playing defense. The strong safety also has the responsibility of stopping the deep pass. While he usually won’t have one-on-one coverage responsibilities on a wide receiver, he will have to provide zone coverage, with the primary responsibility of keeping the opponent from catching anything deep. If the strong safety can track the ball, he can make a play on it and knock it away or intercept it.
The best strong safeties do more than just take care of their primary responsibilities. Good strong safeties read the formation of the offense, the body language of the backs and receivers and the eyes of the quarterback. Through film study, a smart strong safety knows the opponent’s tendencies. As a result, the strong safety may attack the opposing backfield and blitz the quarterback. This is a high-risk, high-reward play that could result in a sack, a deflected pass or a turnover at a key moment.
A strong safety must also be a coach on the field, directing teammates where to go on certain plays and advising them who the most dangerous receivers and running backs are on a particular play. Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott played strong safety, free safety and cornerback in his 14-year career with the 49ers, Raiders and Jets. “It’s not enough to be out on the field and make tackles and defense passes,” Lott said. “I always felt that my job was to make a big play when we needed it. Whether it’s force a fumble, make an interception or come on a blitz, I took it as my responsibility as a strong safety to make something happen.”
Football shoulder pads do not just protect the shoulders. In fact, shoulder pads of the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s provide coverage from the base of the neck to the rib cage. To protect the player from injury, these pads shield the spine and shoulders, as well as the major organs, muscle groups and bones in the chest from impact. The best shoulder pad varies by position, offering range of motion or protection based on the needs of the player.
Drop-back quarterbacks want to find a lightweight pad that offers the shoulder full movement for throwing, according to the buyers guide from Dick’s Sporting Goods. The pad should also sit flat on the shoulder and not creep up the neck, limiting head movement and range of view. Quarterbacks on the run, like those at the helm of the option offense, may choose a shoulder pad cut for running backs. Punters and placekickers generally select quarterback-style shoulder pads, as they are the lightest weight pads and these players are at the lowest risk for being tackled.
Running backs and wide receivers are the focus of offensive plays and typically tackled most during a game. These players, as well as defensive backs, need lightweight shoulder pads that can absorb the force of a hit while not limiting the player’s agility or ability to stiff arm or fend off tacklers. These players should seek pads that provide flexibility and unrestricted movement yet absorb the hard hits you will take.
Bigger bodies require a bigger pad. Fullbacks and tight ends will catch or carry the ball for yards, but most of the time these players will provide blocking support to the quarterback or offensive skill positions. Linebackers combine speed and strength to catch up with ball carriers or short-yardage receivers. Because these players take the most hits to the chest from blocking or tackling, HRS Informer reports that the pads should have a plated front instead of laces to offer upfront strength and greater impact cushioning. Plated fronts also do not require adjustments after hits. Without laces in the front, the pads will secure under the arm with a vinyl and elastic strapping system.
The most grueling positions in football are on the line of scrimmage. Offensive lineman provide a protective wall for the quarterback and open holes for running backs to advance the ball. Defensive linemen attempt to plug those holes, as well as pressure the quarterback. These pads, like ones used by linebackers, have straps around the arm to secure them. They also prevent the opposing blocker from grabbing flaps or laces to dislodge the pads.
Soccer players cover five miles or more during a game, in motions that consist of sprints, jogs, strolls, backpedals, shuffles and walking, as well as forward, backward and laterally, according to video analysis of elite players in the United Kingdom. Championship soccer teams look closely at the best way to prepare players for the game. The simple answer to whether soccer players run every day is ¡°no,¡± though training patterns during the week include lots of running.
University of North Carolina conditioning coach Greg Gatz cautions against slow, methodical jogging or distance running in preparation for soccer. This type of running does not transfer to the game ¡°and can even diminish acceleration and explosiveness,¡± he writes in ¡°Complete Conditioning for Soccer.¡± Running is better as an activity woven into various aspects of training, including light jogging to warm up and to cool down, running to enhance speed and agility and running during skill drills, scrimmages and conditioning training.
Recovery is part of soccer training, so taking a day off to rest is actually a sacred part of serious soccer training. Gatz advises taking a recovery day the day after a match. You won¡¯t be running the day after a Saturday match, for example, or after Wednesday and Saturday matches if you play twice a week, he observes.
A sample weekly training plan with one game a week begins with your rest and recovery day. Day two focuses on resistance training, and day five on resistance and power training. That leaves four days a week of running: sprints for conditioning on day three, work on acceleration and agility on day four and acceleration drills on day six. The week concludes with match day — day seven. The goal is to have you as an athlete at peak conditioning on game day and not too fatigued by daily running. With a heavier schedule of two matches a week and thus two days of recovery, you¡¯ll likely have just two days left for acceleration and agility work and conditioning.
Like Gatz, coach Debra LaPrath, author of “Coaching Girls’ Soccer Successfully,” believes it is best to enhance speed, endurance and agility via drills that involve running. Creating endurance in particular helps players to keep moving between sprints during games. She does recommend, based on a more benign view of distance running than Gatz, that you should run up to 30 minutes three times a week during the off-season. Another option is to cross-train to maintain endurance by swimming, cycling, stair climbing and running on a treadmill, she notes.
While meditation may seem slow when compared to other methods of sports preparation — drills, training and practice, for example — it can be key to helping you become more focused and positive when you play. While it’s difficult to measure the direct effects of meditation on your game, meditation can teach you to relax, focus and feel more positive about your athletic performance. Work some meditation techniques into your training schedule and be ready to experience a positive effect.
They most common form of meditation is called transcendental meditation, or TM. The practice involves simply sitting quietly with your eyes closed and a clear mind for about 20 minutes as a way to focus and reduce stress. You don’t need any special equipment to practice TM, but you may find it hard to clear your mind for 20 minutes at time. If this is the case, try for shorter periods of time at first. You’ll probably find that with practice, TM becomes easier to do for longer periods of time.
If you find that sitting quietly isn’t helping your meditation practice or your game, try positive visualization as part of your meditation technique. Positive visualization involves picturing some of the circumstances that may occur during a game or match and then visualizing your response. “Sport Psychology Today” suggests picturing a positive outcome and what you want from the game or match. This can help increase your confidence and perspective before you begin playing.
Using mantras is another way to prep for a big game and to inspire your performance to be the very best. Mantra meditation is done by first choosing a quote, phrase or word that inspires you. Then, sit quietly for a few minutes as you repeat the mantra in your head 10 times. Repeat it silently as you move your lips, suggests “Yoga Journal.” Then, try repeating it 10 more times in your head without moving your lips. When your mind wanders, come back to the mantra and repeat it again for the duration of your meditation.
If nerves are getting you down before a big game or match, try breathing exercises to help center yourself and feel more calm. Simply focusing on your breath — rather than your nerves — can help you prep for better performance. Try lying on your back and placing a hand over your belly. Breathe so deeply that your hand rises over your belly and then push the air back out again. Repeat until you feel more in control of your nerves.
Most children enjoy running, and they get even more excited about running when they can run fast. Speed is a valuable aspect of being successful in any sport. Good running technique significantly affects how fast a child can run but does not always come naturally to a child. Coaches and parents can use drills, motivation and nutrition to increase a child¡¯s speed.
Tell the children to pretend they are answering two telephones, one on the outside of each hip, while running. This helps them focus on bringing their hands to their hip and then take the hand up to the same ear. Running using this technique can increase momentum from the arms and improve the children¡¯s running times.
Encourage the children to run fast like their favorite animal. Tell them to imagine running like a cheetah or a dog. Or use other visualization images such as running on a hot floor to help children understand how to get faster.
Direct the children to do long distance runs, easy runs and fun runs on separate days to keep them motivated. Using different runs also decreases the risk of injury by training the muscles in different ways.
Facilitate relays or races to keep fast runs fun.
Provide the proper fuel for children before, during and after a run to keep their bodies energized and strong. Offer carbohydrate-rick snacks before runs, such as peanut butter and apples or yogurt and berries. Encourage children to eat food that contain protein and carbohydrates after runs, such as hard-boiled eggs, snack bar or nuts.
Show the children how to stretch after each run. Increasing flexibility increases how fast their legs can move. Make stretching fun for the children by having them lead the stretch sessions or use games like Simon Says.
Cal Hubbard was huge by the standards of the 1920s. When he first appeared on the pro football scene, he was 6’5″, and 250 pounds. Moreover, he could run 100 yards in a speedy 11 seconds. The total effect was awesome.
Hubbard (1900-1977) played college football at Centenary and Geneva, hardly the big time. But, when he turned pro in 1927 at the comparatively ripe age of 26, he went straight for the biggest arena of all — New York.
The Giants were well stocked at tackle, so Hubbard moved over to become the biggest, most fearsome offensive end in the NFL. On defense, he played linebacker.
The addition of big Cal made a good Giant defense great. The New Yorkers posted 10 shutouts in 13 games and allowed only 20 points for the season while winning their first NFL title.
When complacency, age, and dissension dropped the Giants to the middle of the standings the next season, Hubbard asked to be traded.
Hubbard couldn’t have timed it better. Cal was sent to Green Bay just as the Packers were becoming a dynasty. He became the key tackle on a team that won NFL championships for three straight years — 1929, 1930, and 1931.
For all his spectacular defensive play, Hubbard may have been most valuable for his blocking. With his size and speed, he opened holes in the most determined defenses. When the NFL named its first official All-League team in 1931, he was chosen at tackle. In 1932 and 1933, he was named again.
During summers at Green Bay, Cal began umpiring baseball games. In 1936, he began a new career as an American League umpire. He wore the blue for 15 years and then served as supervisor of AL umpires for 15 more.
In 1976, the year before his death, he was named to the Baseball Hall of Fame. He was the first person to be enshrined in both the Baseball and Pro Football Halls of Fame.
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It’s weeks like these that all the aliens need to get together and finally start an intergalactic news organization to report on all the universal happenings. Here at HowStuffWorks.com we’ve been so busy covering the Ig Nobels this week, that outer space took a back seat.
Which new story excited you the most? Was it NASA taking a bite out of the moon Friday morning? Or maybe you didn’t bat an eye at that since, as Robert reminded me, this idea of bombing the moon has been around since as early as the 1950s in the form of Project A 119. Or maybe you’re more of a pacifist and applaud Huffington Post blogger Amy Ephron’s efforts to help save the moon (rather than bomb it). Furthermore, even if you were gung-ho on the explosion idea, the impact didn’t exactly give you a big show in the form of a plume of debris. If you haven’t gotten around to watching it yet, I’ve included a link to NASA’s coverage of the event.
Space.com is running a cool top 10 featuring the greatest lunar crashes ever, No. 10 being the recent LCROSS impact. The moon’s cataclysmic origins figure in prominently, too. (I tried to link to it, but for some reason, it wouldn’t work. Sorry about that guys.)
But if the moon wasn’t your bag, there was plenty of news emanating from the gas giant a few planets over. Earlier in the week, we learned that yet another enormous ring encircles Saturn. This one, according to the folks at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, could fit about 1 billion Earths inside it. The Spitzer Space Telescope discovered Saturn’s latest admirer. If anyone’s lost count, up until this latest finding, the planet had seven rings and few more faint unnamed ones in reserve (maybe those are backups in case A through E don’t work out?).
We also learned that the Earth isn’t quite as likely to get beaned by Apophis, the near-Earth object that measures two-and-a-half football fields across. Scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory report that the probability of Earth receiving a decidedly unwelcome visit from the asteroid on April 13, 2036, has dropped from one-in-45,000 to about four-in-a million.
And those are just a sliver of the stories that rocked space this week.
Get spacey at HowStuffWorks.com:When Worlds and Comets Collide Moon Quiz Why do some people believe the moon landings were a hoax?
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