Pick-up Football Fun

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Story Updated: Dec 2, 2013

For many, it isn't Thanksgiving without a good, old fashioned game of football in the backyard.

Even though it's supposed to be fun too many people end up in the emergency room each year with sprains, strains and broken bones.

With that, the experts at Loyola University Medical Center offer these Turkey Bowl tips.

Stick to touch or flag football. Taking it up a notch to tackle greatly adds to the injury tally.

Before you hit the field, warm up a little. Do a few jumping jacks, jog a bit, and stretch to loosen up those muscles.

Stick to sweat pants and sneakers no cleats. Cleats, increase the risk of "planting" your foot in one position...while the rest of your body is going the other way.

If you opt for one piece of professional equipment, make it the mouth guard. They're inexpensive, and well worth saving your smile.Finally, act your age. If you're 40, don't expect to perform exactly like you did at 20. And most importantly, don't play if you're hurt, or if you've been drinking. Neither will help you win the big Thanksgiving game.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV with the news doctors are reading health news that matters to you.

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The UHS Sports Medicine Program specializes in diagnosing and treating orthopedic and sports-related injuries, providing care on an outpatient basis. The program combines the expertise of certified athletic trainers and physical therapists, who work closely with sports medicine physicians on our medical staff to help patients resume their physical activities as soon as possible.