Youth sports are more popular than ever before, for both boys and girls. There are numerous physical and psychosocial benefits of playing sports – agility, muscle strength, coordination, camaraderie, team work, the list goes on. However, increased participation in sports comes with the fear of injuries. Sports-related injuries are one of the top reasons of emergency room visits for youth. Strains, sprains, bruises, scrapes and concussion are the most common injuries among kids who play youth sports.
As a parent, you can do a lot to both prevent as well as treat sport-related injuries. Here are five tips from your friends at urSTORE:
1. Get a back-to school physical done.
Taking your kid to your sports physician is the best way to determine if your kid is fit to play for the season. The practitioner can point out which muscle groups require training, and what underlying issues there might be. In cases where kids play high-intensity sports despite having a chronic physical issue, acute injuries are inevitable.
Once it’s clear that your kid is ready to play his favorite sport, make it a point to complete medical authorization forms (to be used in case of emergency). Inform his coach and teachers know about any conditions he may have so that they are well equipped in caring for your kid in your absence.
2. Diversify the type of sports your kid plays.
Each sport relies on specific muscle groups and movement patterns. If your kid only ever plays one sports, she can develop injuries related to muscle or joint overuse. Research suggests that half of sports-related injuries such as stress fractures and the inflammation of muscle groups occur from playing only one type of sport without adequate warm up and stretching. In such cases, healing requires completely eliminating that particular sport from the kid’s activity schedule for a long time and in some cases, fully resting becomes necessary.
3. Prevent injuries by using the right kind of sports equipment.
A large number of sports-related injuries occur from using the wrong type of sports equipment. Wearing the appropriate protective equipment such as helmets, knee braces and shin pads is crucial in preventing injuries ranging from concussions and skull damage to knee fracture shin splints. Footwear also has a big impact on the health of your kid’s feet, ankle and knee joints so make sure you get the right shoes.
4. Get serious about head injuries such as concussions.
Head injuries can be irreversible so its crucial to do everything you can as a parent to prevent your kid from having one. Wearing the right safety equipment is a step in the right direction. Encourage your kid to be open to talking about symptoms related to head injuries such as dizziness, headache, fatigue, light-headedness, nausea, etc.
5. Hydration is key.
Water is vital to the body, all the more so in the case of an athlete. Teach your kid to be conscious of his body’s need to be hydrated and provide him with the gear (water bottle) needed to have adequate amounts of water on the go. And remember, just as it is important to drink water to prevent dehydration, so it is crucial to avoid a case of over-hydration. Overhydration is an excess of water in the body which is a condition that can be fatal. The human body can only process so much water at a time and drinking too much may be poisonous!