Injury Prevention Techniques!
Statistics show, more American children are competing in sports than ever before. Known facts: sports help children and adolescents keep their bodies fit and feel good about themselves. However, little did we know, there are some important injury prevention tips that can help parents and athletes promote a safe, optimal sports experience for their child or themselves.
Reducing the Risk of an Injury
- Take TIME OFF: Plan to have at least ONE day off per week and at least ONE month off per year from training for a particular sport to allow the body to recover.
- Wear the CORRECT Gear: Players should wear appropriate and properly fit protective equipment such as pads, helmets, mouthpieces, face guards, protective cups, sports bras, and/or protective eyewear. Young athletes should not assume that protective gear will prevent all injuries while performing more dangerous or risky activities.
- Strengthen Muscles: Conditioning exercises during practice strengthens muscles used in play. It is also a good idea to start conditioning or weight-lifting with your coach before practices begin, so you will be better prepared, physically.
- Increase Flexibility: Stretching exercises after games or practice can increase flexibility. Stretching should also be incorporated into a daily fitness plan. Warm-up stretching before practices should be more dynamic-moving and fast. Stretching after practice should be more static – slow and steady.
- Use the PROPER Techniques: This should be reinforced during the playing season by coaches.
- Take Breaks: Rest periods during practice and games can reduce injuries and prevent heat illness.
- Play SAFE: Strict rules against headfirst sliding (baseball, softball) and spearing (football), and checking in hockey should be enforced. Stop the activity if there is pain.
- AVOID Heat Injury: Drink PLENTY of fluids before, during, and after exercise or play; DECREASE or STOP practices/competitions during high heat/humidity periods; wear light clothing.
Reference: “2016 Sports Injury Prevention Tip Sheet.” American Academy of Pediatrics, n.d. Web.