Health & Medical Adolescent Health

Preventing Injuries in Young Athletes

There are an estimated 60 million children ages 6-18 that participate in some form of organized athletics, with 44 million participating in more than one sport.
In a society where many children are addicted to technology such as cell phones, video games, TVs, etc.
, it is great to hear that athletics are still a way of life for millions of kids.
Not only do sports teach physical skills, they also teach skills such as teamwork, leadership, and strategic thinking.
Despite the many benefits of playing sports, there are some risks.
Estimates show 3.
5 million children aged 14 and under receive medical treatment for sport-related injuries, while high-school athletes account for another 2 million a year.
According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases the most common sport injuries are due to accidents, poor training practices (such as overtraining) or using the wrong gear or equipment.
The good news is that many of these injuries can be prevented.
Below are seven tips to help prevent injuries in your young athlete: 1.
Play Safe - probably the most obvious one is to teach your young athlete how to play a sport safely.
This includes teaching proper technique (such as diving for a ball) and wearing proper equipment.
Allow time for recovery - make sure your young athlete has a rest day so that their muscles can repair, rebuild and strengthen.
Rest days can also help maintain a better balance between home, school and sports.
Take breaks - along the same lines of taking a rest day, make sure your young athlete gets rest during practice and play.
Taking breaks will reduce the likelihood of both injury and heat illness.
Don't "push through the pain" - If a young athlete is complaining of pain it is best to have them sit out a game or practice instead of letting them play and making it worse.
Parents also need to be watching their young athlete for any signs of pain because they may not tell you about it.
Watch for a change in their movement (limping), or wincing when making certain movements.
Build Strength -Resistance training has been shown to increase both muscular strength and bone strength which will in turn decrease their chances of injury.
Increase Flexibility - The International Youth Conditioning Association (IYCA) defines flexibility as: "the ability to produce and reproduce efficient static and dynamic movements at speed over an optimal pain-free range of motion.
" In basic terms, flexibility is the "freedom to move.
" If a young athlete's ability to move freely is compromised, the likely outcome will be inefficient movement, decreased athletic performance and injury.
Enforce an "off-season" - Young athletes who play sports year-round are more likely than others to experience overuse injuries because they aren't giving their bodies a chance to rest and recover.
Encourage your athletes to take at least three months off of a particular sport each year.
Have them mix it up and play different sports during the year so that the same muscle groups are not being used continuously, leading to overuse injuries.
Overtraining is one of the most common causes of sports-related injuries.
According to sports medicine researchers at the Loyola University Medical Center young athletes should not spend more hours than their age in training during a given week.
Those who did not follow this recommendation were 70% more likely to incur serious overuse injuries than other types of injuries.
If an athlete does experience pain or other symptoms that might indicate an injury, seek medical attention immediately.

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