How to Help Children Avoid Sports Injuries
Children are still growing into their bodies. Growth spurts and their over-exuberance can put them at risk for getting injured more easily and more often than adults. There’s also an increased risk of injury when children play together because of their different sizes and abilities. Adults can teach young athletes good habits to help them avoid injuries so that they can spend more time playing and less time on the sidelines.
Physical Examinations Before Sports Participation
A good place to start when trying to avoid injuries is seeing an orthopedist who specializes in sports medicine before signing up for a team. The doctor will perform a physical examination and determine potential risk factors. Any noted deficits, such as limited flexibility or misalignments, can be investigated further and treated.
Proper Nutrition and Rest
Getting the right amount of food and sleep is another way to help children avoid injuries. Eating a balanced diet that incorporates a mix of protein, whole grains, and fresh produce helps improve athletic performance and recovery. Consistently getting seven to eight hours of sleep will also have a positive impact on a child’s health. Poor dietary choices and a lack of rest can lead to decreases in bone density, overuse injuries, and potential stress fractures. It’s also important that kids know their limits and feel comfortable speaking up when they’re hurt.
Stretching and Not Overdoing It
Encouraging children to stretch before and after any physical activity can help them avoid injuries and develop positive habits. Overuse injuries are common and can be mitigated by warming up and cooling down before and after exercising. Young athletes may be at risk for overuse injuries because they play too many sports. Parents should consider limiting the number of teams their child plays on at the same time.
Adults can help young athletes avoid and prevent injuries that may develop into lingering issues. But, to some degree, injuries are simply a part of competitive sports. If your child has been hurt while playing sports, K. Mathew Warnock, MD is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who can treat a range of serious injuries, including ACL tears and dislocated shoulders. If you would like to schedule a consultation with our office, call us at 281-807-4380.