It may be hard to hear this, but Fall is just around the corner. This does not only mean back to school, Sunday night football, and pumpkin spice, but as many parents are well aware, the start of school fall sports season. Although traumatic injuries in contact sports seem to be most imminent. The most frequent sports injuries are actually overuse injuries including muscle strains, ligament sprains, and stress fractures in bones. Having the right amount of preparedness and know how may help prevent these things from happening. As we start to exchange our beach bags for bleacher seat cushions lets review some handy tips to make sure that your kids can stay safe through the whole season.
- Take Breaks: This includes having at least 1 day a week to let the body recover, as well as having breaks during practice or games to rehydrate and prevent overheating.
- Wear the right gear: helmets, mouthguard, protective cups, and eyewear will protect your child from injury in the contact sports where traumatic injury is more likely.
- Warm Up: make sure your kid’s body is ready to perform at the level that is required. This includes a warm up where the heart rate starts to increase and active stretching routine to prepare the muscles for activity.
- Cool Down: This is integral to maintaining the health of the body between activities. It is also the most effective time to increase flexibility of the muscles so as to prevent future injury.
- Use the proper technique: Practice makes perfect right. Practice will not only condition the body to be prepared for competition but also will prepare your child to compete safely.
- Avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of fluids before, during, and after exercise
- Do not play through pain: No pain No gain does not apply to injury. If you play on the injury it will only get worse.
If your child is having pain during or after activity, stay ahead of the game and consult a pediatrician. Or if your child has a history of sports injuries or you feel that they may benefit, physical therapists at Action Potential can assess if there are weak links that need to be addressed in a fitness program. A common assessment is the the Functional Movement Screen as well as other similar tests. These are great resources to keep our kids safe, but at the end of the day what we look forward to is not only the thrill of competition, but seeing our kids have fun as they succeed physically, mentally, socially and emotionally.