Softball is a very active and physical sport. Accidents happen. I’ve had plenty of accidents, broken bones, concussions, and torn everything; from cartilage to ligaments. There are very few things we can do to prevent injury or prevent accidents. One very good way to avoid injury is stretching. When you stretch before beginning a sport, you reduce the risk of tearing a muscle, ligament, or any cartilage. Cartilage is really easy to tear, especially for a catcher or pitcher. If a pitcher is off balance, they will use their torso to correct the pitch, creating the chance of hurting themselves. When a catcher has to lunge across body, leading with their gloved hand, it is nearly impossible to not rip chest cartilage. I detached my ribs from my cartilage a few years back reaching for a wild pitch. My first basemen, a season later, ripped the cartilage in her knee because she did not stretch and warm up before the game, she has been through four surgery. We require our players to throw the ball around before the game so that they do not rip the cartilage and the rotator cuff in their shoulder. A meniscus tear is also very common if you do not stretch, run, and warm up before play time.
The most common injury in base running is a broken ankle. This generally happens when the base runner is sliding into a base. To avoid this painful situation, which i have also been through, is slide a little sooner. The second most common injury is a concussion, which i’m sure we’ve all encountered. I know i have. There’s nothing you can really do to avoid a concussion, but good batting gear and catcher’s gear is definitely a start. Gear will have to be replaced. I have cracked my batting helmet straight up the back because the pitcher had grabbed my face mask when i went to slide into home plate and slammed me back into the ground, stopping my slide short, getting me out, breaking my helmet, and knocking me unconscious. I ended up in the hospital with a concussion and a fracture in my skull. Broken wrists and fingers are also very common, these mainly occur when diving into a base, either your hand will be stepped on or jammed into the base. Dislocation of fingers and hands is also common, this is a simple fix, don't dive with straight fingers, when you dive, have your wrist at an angle so you hit the base with the palm or the heel of your hand, not your fingertips.
Conditioning definitely comes in handy when you're in a pitching or catching position. Lunges are definitely a useful exercise before jumping into either position. To get your legs in shape for the constant up and down squatting of a catcher’s position, you can try running uphill and downhill for a few miles. Maybe not all at once, but running uphill definitely helps gain muscle strength in your thoughts whereas walking or jogging downhill works on your calves, which is another muscle that is commonly used. Finally, water; and a lot of it. If you do not drink enough water your muscles will dehydrate and cramp horrendously.