Thanksgiving traditions range from simply carving a turkey to driving halfway across the country to visit relatives you barely know. However, there may be no tradition that leads to more Thanksgiving injuries than the annual family football game.
This may be the only holiday in which grown-ups and children get together to play what's arguably a young man's game. It's this combustible mix that leads to a spike in ER visits.
Here are five things to remember to avoid a Thanksgiving football injury this year:
You're No Pro. There is no more exciting play in football than a good, solid hit. Just watch Ray Lewis line up a receiver coming over the middle. However, it takes many years of training to know how to properly hit (and take a hit). Leave the head shots or any really strong hits for the PlayStation. In real life, remember you're hitting family members and friends.
Warm Up. If you really want to be a pro, keep in mind that the pros spend a good amount of time warming up and stretching. These are men who earn a living off their bodies. So if you haven't gotten off your couch since last Thanksgiving, it's probably a good idea to spend at least 15 minutes warming up.
Know When to Rest. Don't push yourself too hard. Know your body and when it is time to take a break. And if you feel faint or dizzy, you may need to call a doctor. As with the above tips, you may not have pushed yourself physically for quite some time, so ease into it.
Dress Appropriately. Depending on where you live, it's probably pretty cold out there. Catching a cold may not give you any on-the-field battle scars, but it may actually be the most common malady after a chilly Thanksgiving football game.
Play Two-Hand Touch. If the family is going to play football, consider two-hand touch. The athletes in your family can still run off their aggression while ensuring that no one gets hurt with an overly aggressive or accidental hit.
Of course, if someone seriously and intentionally hurts you during an otherwise friendly Thanksgiving football game, that's when you may want to call an experienced personal injury lawyer. But with any luck, the only side effects you'll experience are some sore muscles the next day.
Good luck taking to the field this Thanksgiving, and have a safe and enjoyable holiday!