Training to Win: How to stay off the injury list
By Dr. Carol Frey
Kids’ sports injuries can be prevented in the majority of cases. Some sports injuries can even be predicted. Because more kids are participating year-around in multiple sports or specialized and participating in elite travel teams. The opportunity for injury has increased compared to a decade ago.
It is up to the parent to be aware and to help prevent their kids from being placed on the injury list. The parents can start by not over scheduling. I realize, however, it may be too late to stop that runaway train.
To prevent injury, common sense should prevail. Here are my top five recommendations for injury prevention:
1. Warm up. Don’t let kids jump right into the game. A good warm-up includes stretching and should be done before every practice and before every game.
2. Wear the right equipment and make sure it fits. A kid should not be allowed on the field without the right gear. Every pad and eye protector should be in place before the coach allows the kid on the court.
3. Be serious about pitch counts and overdoing it with overhand throws and hits. Kids will keep going until they drop. It’s up to the parents to do the count.
4. Be aware that kids who play year-around sports need a break to recover from the activity. I recommended that the kid have two days of rest every week from the sport – any sport and every sport. The developing body needs rest.
5. Even after an injury and recovery, the young athlete needs to gradually return to his or her sport. Before returning to sport, the kid needs full range of motion of the injured part, full strength when compared to the other side, and to have maintained the endurance needed to participate for a full practice. It may take a few weeks or a few months to ease back into a sport after an injury.
But keep in mind that the majority of kids’ sports injuries can be prevented from happening in the first place. A very important team can help with injury prevention. Here are the people that you should have on your “team”:
Your family doctor or pediatrician, a physical therapist who plays an important part in rehabilitation and return to the game. Your coach and your team trainer need to be
on your team as well, and they should always provide prevention services such as tape.
I like to see young athletes go to a good nutritionist as well. Nutrition is key to every kids development. And finally, the parents. No kid should ever be on the field or on the court with a parent near by. When it comes to injury prevention no one is going to worry about your child getting good care than the parents. Don’t underestimate the role of a parent when it comes to helping injury preventions.