Back-to-School Sports Safety and Injury Prevention
Training and conditioning for Fall sports is upon us! Taking part in sports is an important aspect of a healthy, physically active lifestyle for kids, but injuries can, and do occur. More than 2.6 million children, aged 0-19, are treated in the emergency department each year for sports and recreation-related injuries.
Here are 10 tips that you can take to help make sure your kids stay safe and injury-free on the field or court in preparation for the up-coming season.
- Schedule a sports physical- most schools require a physical before your teen can participate in a sport. Ensure you have plenty of time to schedule your teen’s sports physical to avoid missing a deadline that may prevent them from trying out or joining the team.
- Update medical history- although sports physicals should involve the discussion of general medical problems, coaches and school nurses should be made aware of your child’s health history.
- Encourage the importance of hydration- pre-hydrating before games, drinking fluids every 15-20 minutes while practicing outdoors, and re-hydrating after practice and games is essential, especially during this hot summer heat.
- Arrive early to allow for a proper warm-up - Dynamic stretching provides a full body warm-up, increases your flexibility, activates your stability and core muscles, and helps improve your range of motion for preparation of your workout or sport.
- Make time to properly cool down after activity- During a strenuous workout your body goes through a number of stressful processes; muscle fibers, tendons, and ligaments are stressed, and waste products build up within your body. This will assist your body in its repair process and decrease muscle soreness.
- Purchase proper protective gear for your child’s sport- don’t let your child use worn out equipment. A common problem in child athletic programs is a lack of protective equipment. Make sure your athlete has the required equipment necessary.
- Watch for unsafe playing surfaces- Studies have shown that unsafe playing surfaces have increased by about 40 percent, especially artificial turf surfaces.
- Incorporate cross training to minimize over-use injuries- Adding low-impact activities allows your body to use different muscle groups and not overload any particular group.
- Don’t play through pain- Get evaluated by a Structural Elements practitioner or an orthopedic specialist if you have any concern about injuries.
- Avoid the pressure to over train- Listen to your body and decrease training time and intensity if pain or discomfort develops. This will reduce the risk of injury and help avoid “burn-out.”