5 Simple Tips to Prevent Injuries in Young Athletes

Spring is upon us, the schedules are filling up. No matter what your child’s favorite pastime, there is always risk of injury. Shin guards, batting helmets, mouth guards and eye protection can only do so much. What we really need on our fields is a little common sense. You can’t always protect against accidents, but you can make some positive steps to diminish their likelihood.

1. Stay hydrated. Drinking a lot of water before, during and after a game is always a good idea for optimal performance and energy level. Dehydration, even mild, can cause lightheadedness and dizziness resulting in lack of coordination, thereby increasing injury risk.

2. Watch out for exhaustion — heat or otherwise. Make sure your child gets plenty of rest on a regular basis. Tired kids on the field are at increased risk of injury. Heat exhaustion signs include, confusion, dizziness, fatigue, headache, muscle cramps, pale skin and rapid heartbeat. Get them off the field if they display or complain of any of these symptoms.

3. Wear sunscreen. – period.

4. Stretch. – A regular warm up routine and adequate stretching will warm up the muscles, tendons and ligaments reducing the risk of strains, sprains and tears.

5.¬†Educate your child. Sports are an amazing supplement to a child’s life. They teach dedication and teamwork. They should be fun and physical activity is always a good thing. Commitment to a team is a wonderful thing. Competitiveness and drive are also wonderful things. However, make sure your children know their bodies, especially their brains, they need to last a lifetime — hopefully a long one. Playing injured or unwell may earn them points with their coach, but toughing it out may ultimately make it more difficult to earn points where it really matters — in school. Teach them the symptoms of concussion, and the risks of ignoring head injury.

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Author: Karen Latimer

Karen is a Family Doctor, mom of five and founder of Tips From Town.

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