As parents, your children’s safety is a top priority. According to ESPN, 21.47 million kids between 6 and 17 play organized sports. That’s more than the population of the state of New York.
Sports are great for young people for many reasons; being part of a team, staying active, college scholarships, etc. But with any physical activity, there is a risk of injury. In fact, high school athletes get injured about as often as professional athletes do. Some of the most common injuries occur because many athletes are still growing during their high school years. Bones grow first, causing an uneven growth pattern that pulls on tendons and muscles, increasing the chance of injury. However, there are simple steps you can take to help reduce that chance.
Many sports — football, baseball, hockey, soccer, etc — require certain protective gear to play. Make sure all gear fits properly and is in good condition.
If your child has been previously injured, make sure they have the proper support, brace, or protective gear to reduce the chance of repeat or further injury.
Warming up is important for anyone playing a sport. A proper warm up includes stretching before heading out on the field, court or ice. Warm ups increase muscle and tendon flexibility, helping to avoid injuries like pulls and tears.
Conditioning prior to the start of a sports season can help a high school athlete avoid injury during the season. The chance of injury increases when an athlete has a sudden increase in their level of activity that their body is not prepared for. Starting gradually and working up to a full training program is best to get back in playing shape.
Make sure your young athlete drinks plenty of fluids (water or sports drinks) before, during, and after the game.
Don’t Over Do It
Limit the number of sports your high school student plays a season and make sure they take time off. Children and teens who play more than one sport during a season are at greater risk of injury from overuse. Injuries from overuse are common even in adults. If your child is dedicated to a single sport, try to take a couple months off between seasons. Year-round training can lead to overuse injuries as well.
Got other tips for preventing sports injuries? Let us know in the comments!