Kids today are becoming focused on single sports at a younger age and are likely to play their sport year-round. More time playing sports leads to an increase in the chance of traumatic sports injuries. It also leads to the more overuse injuries in the shoulder, elbow, knee and hip.
Here are some steps that can help recognize and prevent injuries before they become serious.
Need a Sports Medicine Specialist?
Schedule an appointment online at Ochsner's Sports Medicine Institute, with locations in Covington, New Orleans and Slidell.
Physicals are becoming more standard and required by most states. They can address problems early on before the season starts. It is also a good opportunity for the athlete and parents to have questions answered by a doctor.
Warm-up and Stretching
Stretching is an important prevention technique that should become a habit for all athletes. A combination of some static stretches and dynamic movements for about 10-15 minutes before the activity can help prevent injuries.
Think about limiting the number of teams your child participates in and possibly changing sports in different seasons. This can help to develop other muscles and skills and not overuse the same muscle groups.
Ask your Children about Pain
Your child needs to know that it is okay to tell you when they hurt or to come out of a game if they are experiencing pain. Pushing through pain can lead to more problems if not addressed early.
Rest and Sleep
A lack of sleep and muscle fatigue can cause your child to be more prone to getting an injury. Most overuse injuries could be prevented by adequate rest between activities and preferably an off season where the athlete can rest and work on further strength and conditioning outside the pressures of coaches and teammates.
Diet and Water
A well-balanced diet can help obtain and maintain a proper weight for sports as well as general health, such as preventing hypertension and diabetes. Hydration during and after sports activities is vital in preventing heat-related sports illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and stroke.
Emphasize Proper Technique and Guidelines
Every sport has technical components that can help prevent injuries. For example, baseball players should be instructed in proper throwing mechanics and follow pitching guidelines and restrictions.
If your child experiences persistent pain or swelling from playing sports, make sure to see a sports medicine specialist.