Nutrition for an Injured Athlete

Our son, Logan

Last week we attended the State Wrestling Tournament in Prescott. It is an exciting, fast-paced, competitive, and can be an emotionally devastating venue. A place where you might see your son or daughter stand on the podium and where you hope your athlete won’t get injured.

We were there for our son, Logan, who has been wrestling since the 6th grade. When he decided he liked wrestling, Logan started training in the gym with his dad, doing modified CrossFit and learning lifting technique. His diet was mostly void of sodas, junk food, and processed grains (I say mostly as you can’t control everything they eat, right?). His dedication to his training and nutrition made for a healthy and fit athlete.

Logan comparison from 6th grade to junior year.
Logan’s first year of wrestling and junior year

The background story…

Logan qualified to compete at State in his sophomore, junior, and now senior year. Up to this point he’d managed to remain injury free (at least no season-ending injuries), and was hoping to place.

His first day had gone well and he was going into the second day still in the running to stand on the podium. After starting off the day with a win, we anxiously waited for his next match which would determine whether he would wrestle in the finals for 3rd or 5th place.

When an athlete gets injured, good nutrition is imperative for recovery.

During the second period of his second match, what we hoped to never see, happened. Logan came down on his elbow. It was obvious he was done. A bone that shouldn’t have been protruding, was protruding. Medics popped his elbow back in, stabilized his arm, and off to the emergency room we went.

With Logan in the emergency room, it's time to think about nutrition for an injured athlete.

At the Emergency Room…

In the emergency room, we learned he had an avulsion fracture of the left elbow and would need to see an orthopedist. Once home, an orthopedist determined his arm would heal, no surgery or cast needed. Good news. Logan was bummed his senior year ended this way, yet he was more focused on not wanting his injury to derail his future goal…enlisting in the Marine Corps.

Logan in Dad's Marine Corps Uniform
Logan wearing his Dad’s uniform in his 5th grade Veteran’s Day performance.

And now, for what you’ve been waiting for….

As soon as we got home, we delved into Precision Nutrition’s recommendations on nutrition for injury recovery. This is what we found:

1. Include lots of anti-inflammatory foods:

  • Olive Oil
  • Avocados
  • Fish Oil
  • Ground Flax-meal or Flax-seed Oil
  • Fish like Salmon, Mackerel, Sardines
  • Mixed Nuts and Seeds

2. Include inflammation-managing herbs, spices, and foods:

  • Turmeric
  • Garlic
  • Pineapple
  • Green Tea
  • Berries

3. Avoid inflammation producing foods:

  • Processed foods high in saturated fat
  • Vegetable Oils (corn, sunflower, soybean, safflower)
  • Food with Trans-fats (fast food)

4. Add supplements for the first 4 weeks after the injury:

  • Vitamin A (10,000 IU a day)
  • Vitamin C (1-2 g a day)
  • Copper (2-4 mg a day
  • Zinc (15-30 mg a day)

To see Precision Nutrition’s info-graphic click here.

In Summary…

It’s been a little over a week since the injury and Logan is doing well. He no longer needs to wear a sling and has started mobility exercises. His prognoses is for a full recovery in approximately 3 months.

Although we can’t PROVE his nutrition is making a difference, we feel stacking things in his favor through following his doctor’s advice regarding movement and Precision Nutrition’s advice regarding nutrition can only increase his chances of a full, healthy recovery.

On a side note…

We’re happy to report that after talking to his recruiter, Logan feels confident the injury will not impact his ability to enlist in the Marine Corps.

For even more detailed information on nutrition for injury recovery, check out all 5 parts of Nutrition Nutrition’s series Nutrition and Injury Recovery.

Thank you for letting us share Logan’s story with you. If you have (or are) an athlete dealing with an injury and would like to share what has (or is) working for you, we’d love to hear from you.


Be and Carl