10 Tips for Preventing Sports Injuries in Kids and Teens
1. Talk with your young athlete.
Sports should be pain-free. Tell your child to let mom or dad know if something hurts or doesn’t feel right.
2. Get a preseason physical.
Asses any concerns before starting sports season, and prevent further injury during play if a condition is present and needs to be treated. Plus, your school won’t let you play if you don’t have a sports physical on file.
3. Encourage cross-training and a variety of sports.
Too much of the same sport puts lots of stress on the same muscles and joints. Limit the number of teams your athlete is on at any given time and change their routine regularly to give them a variety of activities and exercise.
4. Stress the importance of warming up.
Stretching is should become habit for all athletes before practicing or a game. Include both
Static and dynamic stretching. Toe touches or any stretch that you hold position for 30 seconds or more are considered static stretches. When the body continues to move during the stretch, like in a jumping jack, it is a dynamic stretch.
5. Make sure they rest.
Athletes of all ages need to rest between practices, games and events. A lack of sleep and muscle fatigue predispose an athlete to injury. Most common injuries in young athletes are overuse injuries – too many sports, not enough rest.
6. Provide a healthy, well-balanced diet.
It’s important for athletes to eat a well-balanced diet full of fruits, vegetables and lean proteins, and to maintain a regular eating schedule.
7. Emphasize hydration.
Watch for any signs of heat-related illness, such as fatigue, nausea, vomiting, confusion or fainting. Be extra cautious on hot and humid days. Make sure your athlete drinks enough water before, during and after playing.
8. Get the proper equipment.
Helmets, pads, shoes and other protective equipment are an important part of injury prevention. But they must fit properly in order to offer this protection. Before the season starts, talk with the coach about what is needed and allow enough time to purchase the equipment and have it fitted before practice begins.
9. Emphasize proper technique and guidelines.
In every sport, there is a correct way and a wrong way of doing things. It only takes one time of not following this advice for an injury to happen.
10. Recognize injury and get help early.
Small injuries that are ignored can progress into a more serious injury. Get your child to the doctor right away even if they have a minor injury.