Preventing Sports Injuries in Kids and Teens
Sports Injuries in Young People Are on the Rise
Today’s young athletes are big, strong, and push themselves hard. Thanks to activities like sports camps, they’re also more likely to play the sports they love best year-round.
All that means they’re more likely to suffer sports injuries like injuries in the labrum or UCL of the shoulder and elbow and ACL and meniscus injuries in the knee.
Regrettably, some basketball injuries, running injuries, Achilles tendon strain, and other sports injuries are unavoidable. But there are things you can do as a parent or coach to keep kids from getting hurt and to make the injuries less serious when they do get hurt.
Pointers for Preventing Young Athletes’ Sports Injuries
Fight Sports Injuries with Proper Rest
Muscle fatigue and lack of sleep make sports injuries more likely. In fact, overuse injuries, injuries that are the result of too much exertion and not enough rest, are the most common type of injury among young people who play sports. Kids need to rest between practices and games, they need to get enough sleep, and they need offseason breaks between sports seasons.
Fight Sports Injuries with Good Nutrition
Young athletes are less likely to suffer sports injuries if they eat a well-balanced diet of lean proteins, vegetables, and fruits. Regularly scheduled meals help, too. Adults may need to pay particular attention to what kids are eating if they’re participating in a sport like wrestling and trying to make weight.
Fight Sports Injuries with Hydration
Young athletes need water before, during, and after sports. Hydration is especially important to stave off heat-related illness. Adults should be aware of the symptoms of heat-related illness including fainting, nausea, vomiting, confusion, and fatigue
Fight Sports Injuries with a Preseason Physical
A preseason or back-to-school physical checks to see if a young athlete is physically ready to play or if a condition is present that predisposes him or her to sports injuries. Once such a condition is identified, it can be treated.
Fight Sports Injuries by Encouraging Cross-Training and Multiple Sports
If young athletes don’t play the same sports constantly, they won’t overuse certain muscles and joints and risk injuring them.
Fight Sports Injuries by Warming Up
Young athletes should stretch before starting a session of any sport. A combination of static and dynamic stretching is optimal for loosening up muscles and preparing them for the activity to come. (Static stretches are ones where the kids hold a position for a certain length of time, and dynamic stretches are those where the body is constantly in motion.)
Fight Sports Injuries with Protective Equipment
If a sport requires protective equipment like helmets, pads, or a particular type of shoe, make sure the young athlete has what he or she needs. Parents may want to check with coaches preseason to make sure their child is fully equipped.
Fight Sports Injuries with Proper Techniques and Guidelines
Proper techniques and guidelines prevent sports injuries, For example, football players need to learn the right way to tackle to avoid concussion, and baseball players should know the guidelines that tell them how many times a day they can throw without undue risk of a shoulder injury.
Fight Sports Injuries with Communication
Some young athletes are inclined to tough out pain or ignore their awareness that something doesn’t feel right. They should be encouraged to discuss problems and seek help for them. That’s the way to get their sports injuries healed and not allow them to worsen.
Fight Sports Injuries by Being an Observant Adult
If, despite your encouragement, the young athlete remains inclined to ignore sports injuries, you’ll have to spot them yourself. If a kid is, for example, throwing differently, rubbing a limb, or limping, take that seriously, ask about it, and take whatever action is appropriate. Sometimes that’s withdrawing the child from the sport until the problem can be treated.
Here are some signs that a young athlete needs to see a doctor:
- Consistent pain during or after sports
- Recurrent instability; joints “giving way”
- New or persistent swelling around a joint
- Painful pops (the ones that don’t hurt are generally not cause for concern)
- Pain that doesn’t get better as a result of rest
If your young athlete has suffered basketball injuries, running injuries, Achilles tendon strain, or any sort of sports injuries, we invite you to contact the Pain Relief Institute for a consultation. We offer a comprehensive array of non-invasive pain management therapies including physical therapy, Zilretta, PalinGen, stem cell recruitment, and laser therapy.