With so many children playing multiple sports per week, injuries are not uncommon. Parents and children can both do more to prevent sports-related injuries. By avoiding strains, fractures and other injuries, children can continue to play sports and lead active lives.
Stretch Before Playing
Children should always stretch before games and practices. Stretching loosens the body and properly prepares the muscles for the upcoming physical activities. These stretch sessions should last at least 15 minutes. Parents can help by encouraging their children to avoid playing until after completing a stretching routine. Beyond offering encouragement, parents can also set a good example by stretching before their own workouts at home.
Wear the Proper Gear
Wearing the right equipment can make a huge difference in helping a child avoid injuries while playing sports. All gear should fit the child correctly to offer the best protection. Secondhand gear that doesn’t fit may not fully protect the child from harm. Parents should not allow their child to play sports if the child refuses to wear the gear. Children can look to famous athletes to see that even the professionals wear protective equipment.
In addition to specialized equipment, such as helmets, young athletes also need proper shoes. Shoes designed for specific sports can help children avoid common fractures and strains.
If young players can learn how to communicate with each other, they may be able to prevent some common injuries. For example, during a baseball game, players should remember to alert their team members of upcoming actions. A player in the outfield can tell other players that he will try to catch the ball. Good communication skills can prevent the players from colliding into each other in an effort to get the ball. Young players should also remember to constantly stay aware of their surroundings to avoid collisions.
Playing too many sports without proper rest breaks between activities can stress the body and cause injuries. If a child participates in too many sporting activities each week, her body will never get a chance to recover. Parents must figure out how many activities per week are too much for a child. Two days of rest after five days of games and practices can give a child enough time to fully rest.
Nutrition and Sleep
A good diet and sufficient sleep play a critical role in helping to boost the health of a growing child. Children who play in sports need to eat a balanced diet each day and get plenty of sleep every single night. A properly nourished body is less likely to suffer from strains due to repetitive motions during physical activities. Children should also drink plenty of water during a game and eat snacks if they feel hungry. Parents can teach their children about nutrition and how to stay healthy.
Recovery from an Injury
If a child does get injured during a game, she will probably need to take an extended break from sports. After recovering from an injury, the child must ease back into sports gradually. Playing at full intensity can cause the injury to quickly return. Depending on the severity of the injury, it may take some time before a child can fully play her favorite sport again.
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