In our bid to support your best, healthy, active lifestyle we thrilled to welcome T-J Malherbe to the Commander HQ trusted panel of in-house experts.  We chatted to her about sports injuries in general, prevention and why children shouldn’t specialise in a sport at an early age.  Over the coming months she’ll cover a range of related topics, answer your questions and give expert opinion on treatment and prevention methods across specific sports. 
TJ Malherbe has a BSc Physiotherapy from UCT, Sports Physiotherapy post graduate qualification SPT1, Pilates Body Control Technology qualification and a teachers qualification in the Cechetti Ballet technique. She has also travelled with cricket for 12 years with a variety of sports teams. Check out her full bio below. A warm welcome to the team TJ.  
What are the most common injuries sustained by athletes and active people 
The injuries we see are broad spread because of the amount of sports we are involved in.  Each sport has injuries more specific to them and across the range of sports there are many injuries to cover.  Lower back, ankles, knees and shoulders are most common. 
What causes these common injuries among athletes?  
The causes of sporting injuries are way more detailed than those caused by general everyday activities.  When treating an athlete one cannot look at the presented injury alone.  We have to consider extrinsic factors like coaching, poor technique, equipment, training surface type, footwear, training load, climatic exposure, training “holes” etc.  It’s also important to compile a detailed medical timeline looking at past injuries and what intrinsic factors could have led to the present injury like age, flexibility, leg length, fitness levels, diet and weight.  With athletes, it is crucial to establish a correct diagnosis so effective management can start as soon as possible.  For top athletes TIME is MONEY!!!! For the rest of us, being injured means money needed for medical bills.  Problems arise when these fine details are not investigated, incomplete treatment and foregoing rehabilitation programs.  Athlete education is crucial.  
Why is early intervention essential? 
Injuries can be prevented, and that is why top athletes or teams implement pre-season musculoskeletal assessments.  The research has proven this, so prevention is first prize.  Getting a lower grade injury, which allows you to continue competing or keeps you off the field for a short time, is 2nd prize.  With some contact and uncontrolled sports there are some injuries due to impact that no one can stop. But if improving your body’s balance and stability for your mountain biking, for example, stops you falling altogether, well that’s another injury prevented. If you are not seeing your physio for pre-season assessments and pre rehab, then getting injuries seen to ASAP is crucial to allow you to continue training and competing 
Why is maintenance essential especially in young athletes 
Maintenance is really just your pre rehabilitation.  Once you know your body “weakness” you must strive to balance your system.  Sports often accentuate one side of your body and are asymmetrical, so your training must include evening out those imbalances.  Athletes must cross train, and making sure both muscle systems are sequenced and activated correctly and functioning at their maximum according to the sporting demands. These habits need to start as early as possible and there is endless research proving how bad early specialisation is in children.  They must play many sports and get involved in a variety of activities.   
Final word?  
I always say that one’s strength is to know your own limitations and with that knowing when and who to ask for help!  That always allows you to grow and learn along the way.  Commander HQ is giving its members a wonderful platform to help become more educated as an athlete or active individual.  Ask question, nothing is stupid, and fill your athletic toolbox. A box that you should fill with equipment for every situation: injury return, injury recovery, injury prevention or performance improvement.  

Stay ahead of the game!  

Bio :  
TJ Malherbe has BSc Physiotherapy from UCT, Sports Physiotherapy post graduate qualification SPT1, Pilates Body Control Technology qualification and a teachers qualification in the Cechetti Ballet technique having also done the Cechetti advanced dancers exam. 

She has travelled with cricket for 12 years with a variety of teams U19 World Cup Sri Lanka, Ladies T20 World Cup Taunton UK, Irish mens’ cricket team ICC World Cup qualifier, Proteas A team Australia, ICL Indian cricket League in India, Western Province Cricket and Cobras, Cobras Champion League India. Helped out with ladies national hockey team, Northerns mens IPT hockey team, Indian national cricket team, Hampshire Cricket team, Ladies Blitzbokke, and Cape Town international tennis tournament, Club and high school first team rugby. 

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