Photo by Brian Canniff – Ultiphotos.comHere at Major League Ultimate, we are athletes just like you.  Our players, coaches and staff are athletes.  We train and compete, and as a result we get injured. Injuries and sports go hand in hand, they are inevitable for an athletic lifestyle.  That being said, there are ways to limit and prevent needless injury, and we’ve asked our friends at Novacare to help us with some tips.Ultimate has been growing in popularity throughout the country, both on the professional circuit and among recreational athletes. Several members of NovaCare Rehabilitation have years of dedicated experience to the sport including Matt Shedlock, M.S., P.T., COMT and market manager from NovaCare’s Western PA community. Shedlock has been working with both amateur and professional athletes for over a decade and recently worked with coaches and athletes from Pittsburgh Ultimate to provide an educational seminar on training techniques and injury prevention.As one of the fastest-growing sports in the country, Ultimate is a sport that you can enjoy anywhere. Before participating, Shedlock has some tips that can keep you on the field and off the sidelines.– Make ankle strengthening a part of your daily regimen. Heel and toe walking, as well as plyometrics emphasizing good ankle positioning are key for a sport that is often played on uneven terrain.– Focus on hip strength and knee positioning during planting and cutting to reduce knee pain and the risk of an ACL tear. Research shows learning proper hip and knee mechanics significantly reduces the likelihood of a significant non-contact knee injury.– Ultimate athletes regularly throw from multiple angles, so rotator cuff strengthening is critical. Front and side raises as well as internal and external rotation exercises at different angles help maximize cuff coordination and strength.– Practice laying out safely by absorbing the brunt of the landing through your chest or side. Landing on your hand or elbow directs the landing force through your shoulder, significantly increasing the risk of an injury.Ultimate players are at risk for injury just like athletes in every sport. However, just like any other sport, there are areas of the body that require specific focus from athletes looking to play ultimate. By better understanding what areas are most engaged while playing ultimate and focusing on strengthening and maintaining them, ultimate athletes of all levels increase their chance at success, while decreasing their chance of injury.