Seniors Keegan Bergman and Jake Dinkel are prepared for their first day of their last season with the Marathon Red Raiders.
"We're expecting to go out there," Bergman said. "Go hard. The people who get hurt aren't going their hardest."
However, jumping into the first practice isn't always an easy transition for the body, and the beginning of the season is where the majority of injuries happen.
"Two-a-days can cause havoc with muscle soreness and muscle fatigue," Dr. Crisin Newkirk, of Marshfield Clinic in Wausau, said. "Once your muscles fatigue it's hard to protect the joints like they should."
One of the most common injuries are the dreaded ACL tears. What happens is when an athlete lands improperly or jumps from side-to-side, it causes the ACL ligament inside to tear and their season to end.
When your first day of practice ends, Dr. Newkirk said replenishing your body is just as important, even if it hurts.
"Force yourself to get out of bed," Newkirk said. "Get moving around. Get a stretch in. Get a light jog just to loosen things up so things don't get so stiff so the next day you don't get out of bed, and it's worse than before."
Newkirk said athletes need to treat their injuries right away instead of taping them up and jumping back on the field.
"I think it's important to know what kind of sweater you are as an athlete," Newkirk said. "How much fluid you usually lose during the practice. A lot of times that just means getting on the scale beforehand and then getting on the scale afterward."
For every pound you lose, Newkirk said you should drink 16 ounces of water.
For every football player eager for their season with their best friends on the field: take care of your body before, during and after. That way, you can finish your season the same way you started on the first day: healthy.
"Some things you can't prepare for," Dinkel said. "Like you will be sore the next day."
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