Practical Tips for Preventing Sports Injuries Among Children and Teens
School is open and it marks the start of fall football, soccer, tennis, cross country, volleyball and golf. It’s also the time for sports injuries. At Barclay Physical Therapy, now is the time we commonly rehabilitate athletic injuries like concussions, broken bones and pulled muscles.
Whether you are a Cougars, Falcons, Red Hawks, Colts, Eagles, Chieftains, Yellow Jackets, or any other high school sport’s fan, discuss the following tips with your young athlete to ensure low-risk of injury, safety and an enjoyable sports season.
Sports Injury Prevention Tips from American Academy of Pediatrics
- Give your body time to rest – take one day off a week and at least one to two months off during off season to allow the body to recover. Children and adolescents who participate in more than one sport during a season are at greater risk for injury due to overuse.
- Cross-training and don’t overdo it– encourage participation in different sports to avoid burnout and more so, to avoid overuse of the same muscles and stress on joints.
- Wear appropriate clothing and gear – safety comes first, and by wearing protective equipment like helmets, mouth guards, pads, faceguards and eyewear, one can reduce risk of serious injury. Remember to make sure everything fits properly too for optimal effectiveness.
- Don’t forget to stretch! – warm up muscles and increase muscle and tendon flexibility to help enhance performance, increase endurance, prevent injuries like muscle pulls and tears, and encourage recovery. Combine both static (like toe touches) and dynamic stretches (like jumping jacks).
- Focus on technique – like exercise, there is a proper form and technique. There is a right way of doing things and a wrong way. So always ask the coach to determine if your young athlete is doing things as recommended because improper technique can lead to injury.
- Eat a balanced meal and get enough sleep – establish a regular eating schedule filled with healthy fruits, vegetables and lean proteins along with adequate sleep. Lack of sleep and muscle fatigue buts a person at risk of injury.
- Hydrate, hydrate and hydrate – it is very important to stay hydrated, especially on hot and humid days. Be sure athletes drink enough water or sports drinks before and after activity. Be watchful for signs of fatigue, nausea, vomiting, confusion or fainting, as these may be signs of heat-related illness.
- Do not play through pain – because it may make it worse and your player can end up with a more serious injury. Recognize injury and seek help earlier rather than later.
Cheer your champion on and judge your young athlete on effort and sportsmanship! The pressure of winning or the criticism faced when losing a game can cause a lot of mental pressure. Rather focus on congratulating your child for their hard work and dedication. In an age where obesity is a huge concern, it is important for youth to have fun and engage in lifelong physical activity.
Academy of Pediatrics. (2017, March 16). Sports Injury Prevention Tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Retrieved from www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/news-features-and-safety-tips/Pages/Sports-Injury-Prevention-Tip-Sheet.aspx