Kids today are becoming focused on single sports at a younger age and are likely to play their sport year-round. More time playing sports leads to an increase in the chance of traumatic sports injuries. It also leads to more overuse injuries in the shoulder, elbow, knee and hip.
Here are some steps that can help recognize and prevent injuries before they become serious.
Physicals are becoming more standard and required by most states. They can address problems early on before the season starts. It is also a good opportunity for the athlete and parents to have questions answered by a doctor.
Warm-ups and Stretching
Stretching is an important prevention technique that should become a habit for all athletes. A combination of some static stretches and dynamic movements for about 10-15 minutes before the activity can help prevent injuries.
Think about limiting the number of teams your child participates in and possibly changing sports in different seasons. Changing sports can help to develop other muscles and skills and not overuse the same muscle groups.
Ask Your Children About Pain
Your child needs to know that it is okay to tell you when they hurt or to come out of a game if they experience pain. Pushing through pain can lead to more problems if not addressed early.
Rest and Sleep
A lack of sleep and muscle fatigue can cause your child to be more prone to getting an injury. Most overuse injuries can be prevented by adequate rest between activities and preferably an offseason where the athlete can rest and work on strength and conditioning away from the pressure of coaches and teammates.
Diet and Water
A well-balanced diet can help obtain and maintain a proper weight for sports and general health, such as preventing hypertension and diabetes. During and after sports activities, hydration is vital in avoiding heat-related sports illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and stroke.
Emphasize Proper Technique and Guidelines
Every sport has technical components that can help prevent injuries. For example, baseball players should be instructed in proper throwing mechanics and follow pitching guidelines and restrictions.
If your child experiences persistent pain or swelling from playing sports, make sure to see a sports medicine specialist.