6 Ways to Prevent Common Youth Sports Injuries
Kids and teens today are playing sports harder and with more intensity than ever before. What used to be a baseball game in the empty lot behind the grocery store played on weekends is now a structured, statewide or even nation-wide competition played year-round.
The more time our kids spend on the playing field, sooner or later, a sports-related injury is bound to happen. Injuries happen, regardless of how physically fit or active your child is, they happen even to the highest paid and best-trained athletes in the world.
Common youth sports injuries include sprains and strains, spondylolysis, tendonitis, ACL tears in the knee just to name a few.
As the founder of Better Health Chiropractic in Wasilla, here is a list of ways you can prevent youth sports injuries before your child ends up at the hospital or in my clinic.
7 Super Prevention Methods
1. Get an Annual Checkup
Is your child is in good enough physical shape to play for another season? Studies show that a pre-participation physical exam reduces musculoskeletal injuries as well as for spotting any possible problems before kids return to active games. You should not only see your pediatrician for a checkup but visit your local chiropractor as well.
2. Let Them Rest!
Unfortunately, many parents push their children to play more than one sports game or on more than one team at a time, which leaves them precious little time for school, school work, play time, and rest. A lack of sleep leads to poor performance and, typically, injuries from overuse. Every athlete needs rest to allow the body to repair itself.
3. Use Proper Equipment
Make sure that you have adequate time to buy sizes that fit your child. Knowing in advance what size you will need can help you avoid forcing your child to wear a medium for a few weeks until the size small is back in stock. This is a simple way to prevent common youth sports injuries.
4. Hydration and Warm-Up
When it’s hot and/or humid out, many children end up dehydrated at best or at risk of suffering from heat stroke at worst. Be sure your child has (and understands the importance of) drinking water before, during, and after the game. If you are present, always be on the lookout for signs of heat stroke, such as fainting, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue.
Although most coaches put their team through warm-up routines sometimes Stress the importance of warming up before the game. If you can, perhaps practice a few simple warm-up exercises with your child at home so they will know what to do. Toe touches, and jumping jacks are all good examples of stretching and warmup exercises that kids of all ages can do.
5. Stress Proper Technique(s)
Common youth sports injuries occur every year due to a simple lack of following proper technique. Football players should understand how to tackle and Baseball players should know how to throw the ball to avoid elbow injuries, and soccer players should know how to head the ball. Lastly, softball players need to learn how to field the ball to avoid wearing a mask in right field.
6. Recognizing Injuries
Too many children sustain long-term injuries because the symptoms were dismissed as being minor and the child continued to play their chosen game.
Parents- your children may not want to let the team down or they might even be too young to understand that what they are feeling is not normal. Look for signs of possible injuries, such as limping, favoring one arm, or rubbing their knee while they are waiting to be called.
When an Injury Does Occur
Chiropractors treat the entire body, not just the symptoms.
In fact, 31% of NFL teams employ a chiropractor full time and 77% of all teams have referred their players to a chiropractor. You will find chiropractic care is safe and effective for everyone and that your child will feel so much better after a few sessions.
Practice the above prevention methods and keep an eye out for injuries so they can be quickly treated and in the game for many years to come.
About Dr. Brent Wells
Dr. Brent Wells is the founder of Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab, a different type of chiropractic clinic which treats patients the way Dr. Wells would want his family to be treated. Born and raised in Southern California, Dr. Wells received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Nevada and his Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine degree from Western States Chiropractic College. He, his wife Coni, and their three children live in and enjoy the great outdoors in Alaska. Dr. Wells volunteers for Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Foundation and can be found hiking or rollerblading when he isn’t playing his guitar.