So much excitement surrounds this time of year when school age kids are starting the sports season. And though the excitement is high for both the children and parents alike, it is equally important as parents and coaches to ask ourselves how we can prevent sports injuries, not only during the conditioning phases of the season, but all the way through out. Though it’s impossible to protect our children from everything (as hard as we try), there are easy steps that can be taken to prevent sports injuries.
- Fill that water bottle! During this time of the year, it’s extremely important to make sure the kids are staying hydrated. Dehydration causes muscle fatigue and cramps that can further lead to injury.
- Get the right gear! Whether it be knee pads, helmets etc., it’s important to have appropriate fitting gear. From a Podiatry stand point, having a good athletic shoe that fits properly is just as important to prevent ingrown nails, heel pain, ankle sprains, etc.
- Stretch! Getting the body warmed up and stretched is imperative, and often underestimated, to prevent any sprains or strains of muscles and ligaments. Stretch for at least 5-10 minutes holding each stretch for 30 seconds.
- Don’t ignore pain! If your child/athlete is experiencing pain, don’t “walk it off” like the old adage recommends. Instead, take time off to allow your body to recover and prevent chronic injuries.
Though this doesn’t sound like much, these four simple steps can greatly reduce the number of injuries that occur each sports season. As parents, we are often our children’s biggest fans but it is much more fun to be their fan when the child is on the field/court/track/course rather than sitting on the sidelines due to an injury.
~Dr. Kayla Emter, DPM