Youth Sports Injury Prevention: How to Keep Your Child on the Field
You toss a soccer ball, lacrosse stick, sport bags, and various gear into the trunk of your mom van, make sure your kids are buckled up, and drive off to their first soccer and lacrosse practices of the season. After dropping them off and congratulating yourself on getting everyone where they need to go in one piece, take a minute to review what you can do to help keep your child on the field this season.
Youth sports injury prevention begins with making sure our kids warm up, stretch, rest, wear the right gear, and have a healthy attitude toward winning. Some injuries are unpreventable, and the physicians at ORTHOKnox are ready to provide the best orthopaedic treatment for your children.
1. Warm Up and Stretch Before Playing
So what if your kid is a few minutes late for practice? They will only miss the warm up, right? Well, yes, but the warm up is something your kid should not skip because it helps to prevent injuries on the field.
As your kid warms up, their heart rate and circulation gradually increases. This increases the blood flow to their muscles, which can reduce the incidence of overuse. Also, it loosens the joints which increases their range of motion.
Stretching, particularly dynamic stretching, helps to manage stress and prepares the body for exercise. Continuously moving during stretching, such as touching their toes and then reaching for the sky, is best for your children to increase their range of motion. Doing this after warming up helps reduce the likelihood of acute injury.
2. Rest to Avoid Overuse
Not only is it important to rest during a game, it is also valuable to take at least one day off from a sport per week. In addition, many physicians recommend taking three months off from a specific sport per year in order to avoid injuries from overuse. Overuse occurs when a body part experiences repeated stress without a break. This occurs over time, and the pain is not tied to an acute injury, such as a fall.
Switching up the sports our kids play, such as soccer in the fall and baseball in the spring, can be an alternative to taking a three-month break. The key is to make sure the alternated sports primarily use different parts of the body to prevent overuse.
3. Wear Proper Gear
It is no joke that kids grow like weeds. They are constantly growing out of clothes and shoes. They are probably growing out of their sports gear, too! It is important that their cleats, shin guards, helmets, and other protective gear fit well in order to provide maximum protection.
Also make sure your child is actually wearing their shin guards or helmets. Even in practice!
4. Have a Healthy Mentality
While a good sense of competition is healthy, we should make sure that the “win at all costs” mentality does not mean that we sacrifice a child’s health by risking injuries from overuse or overly-aggressive behavior. Make sure that win or lose, your child is having fun, developing skills, getting exercise, and staying safe!
New Orthopaedic Urgent Care! Stop in if you need us at our Turkey Creek location. No appointment needed Monday through Friday from 7am—7pm and Saturday from 9am—1pm!
For more information about ORTHOKnox and keeping your child safe on the field, call (865) 251-3030, or fill out our easy-to-use online appointment request form. We look forward to hearing from you!