Men's Health

Why men are prone to accidental injuries – plus 4 tips for avoiding them!

Men – specifically dads – are often viewed as the ones who can’t get hurt, both by others and themselves.

They often forget to take small, simple precautions, and this can result in incurring injuries. Regardless of how small or incidental they may seem, this can pose as a major inconvenience or limit their lifestyle – and even lifespan.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics show that men die from unintentional injuries, or accidents, at higher rates than women. The CDC’s National Vital Statistics Reports show that this was the No. 4 cause of death in men in 2013.

Dr. Bernard Davidson, psychologist at Augusta University Behavioral Health and Psychiatry, says that this trend has to do with the cultural, gender-stereotypical expectation for males to “tough it out” and “be a man.” These messages overpower the ones that their bodies are trying to send to them – to slow down and take it easy.

“Fathers may feel a much stronger need to show their children, especially their sons, how strong and fit they are,” Davidson said. “Their egos may get in the way. This may reflect a father’s need to be admired or even compete with their children or other fathers. Sometimes fathers may feel the need to compete with the idolized stereotypes of being a man that our culture promotes.”

This comes from a good place, though.

“They may overexert themselves as role models to their sons, because they feel as though they’re positively influencing the type of man their son turns out to be,” Davidson said.

Another father and health care professional at Augusta University Health weighs in.

“As a father, myself, I’ve experienced the result of seemingly ordinary tasks like picking up a child, doing yard work, running or throwing causing some concern,” said Tim McLane, Certified Athletic Trainer with Augusta University Sports Medicine. “It’s important to remember that these injuries can be avoided or minimized by simply using good body mechanics and fully recognizing our limitations.”

4 tips for avoiding unintended injuries

By Tim McLane, Certified Athletic Trainer

  1. When lifting things or picking up your child, remember to lift with your legs, not your back. Bend at the knees, keep your back relatively straight and let the legs do the work.
  2. When mowing the lawn, remember to be sure and have the mower’s handle high enough to allow for just a very slight bend in the back, and let the legs do the work.
  3. When preparing to run with your child or even on your own, stretch out or warm up even a little bit. Now, the spontaneous chase may make stretching impossible, so begin slowly and then increase your speed. Remember to back off when you feel it begin to “cramp,” burn or get tight.
  4. When you go to throw with your child, start slowly and close together. Gently toss, and begin to back up the distance with an arc before you get to throwing with any velocity.

Following these tips is not only good for you but also for your children, as they’ll catch on to your healthy habits!

Fathers, as you enjoy your children, be good to yourself, and know that “real strength is regulating emotion, knowing when to pull back and when to exert yourself,” Davidson said.

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About the author

Augusta University Health

Based in Augusta, Georgia, Augusta University Health is a world-class health care network, offering the most comprehensive primary, specialty and subspecialty care in the region. Augusta University Health provides skilled, compassionate care to its patients, conducts leading-edge clinical research and fosters the medical education and training of tomorrow’s health care practitioners. Augusta University Health is a not-for-profit corporation that manages the clinical operations associated with Augusta University.