With school right around the corner, young athletes are preparing to give their all in their respective fall sports. Tennis, soccer, football, cross country, volleyball, and even marching band members are working hard to perfect their sport or activity.
Sports and activities like these are a great way for kids to be involved and stay active in their younger years. Working with other individuals in a team dynamic helps teach each participant the importance of hard work, dedication, and sportsmanship.
With increased time spent participating in physical activity comes an increased risk of injury. Youth athletes are more prone to injury due to their still-developing musculoskeletal system. Some of the injuries young athletes face include:
- Sprained ankles
- Shoulder injuries
- Torn ACLs
- Broken bones
- Pulled tendons
In a growing athlete, repeated motions such as throwing, kicking, or turning can lead to other chronic pain injuries, making it hard for them to participate in their sport. Whether the injury is from an accident or has developed over time, a child should never be asked to play through pain. Always consult with an orthopaedic sports medicine specialist if the injury is impeding their performance.
Preventing Sports Injuries
Here are a few suggestions to help keep your child safe while allowing them to enjoy their activity.
- Provide proper gear. If gear is needed, help your child make sure they are wearing everything properly. Helmets, gloves, and shin guards should fit the child well. Cleats should be sized correctly and tied to prevent tripping. If equipment is used (tennis racket, baseball bat, ball, etc.) make sure your child is using it the way it is supposed to be used.
- Encourage a proper warm-up and cool-down. Make sure you plan in extra time before practice to stretch. Participating in a series of warmups that will get muscles engaged and moving will help in preventing injuries. Warming up with other players is a great way to build team spirit. Cool down after a game or practice to relax and make sure each child takes enough time to recover after the vigorous activities.
Participation in Multiple Sports
In recent years, orthopaedic surgeons have seen an increased amount of overuse injuries as kids are getting more and more involved. Sports can be a great way for kids to make friends, but too many sporting activities without a break can cause damage to their health. Taking regular breaks and playing an array of sports is essential to skill development and injury prevention.
If an injury does happen, Dr. Hicken is qualified to diagnose and treat all kinds of sports injuries to help your athlete recover and return to the game they love.