Keeping Kids in the Game

Sports play a crucial role in the development of healthy exercise habits for children, offering a potential solution to the concerning rise in childhood obesity and related medical conditions typically associated with adulthood.

Engaging in youth league football, baseball, soccer, and other sports can expose a kid to more bumps and bruises. However, it is possible to prevent strains, sprains, and other injuries that could prematurely end their season.

To ensure sports activities remain a part of your schedule this season and your whole life, we have compiled a list of actions that parents and kids can take to help prevent injuries.

Preseason homework

Before the season starts, it's important to do some preseason homework to ensure a smooth start. First, familiarize yourself with the coaching staff, the sponsoring association, and the equipment used in the sport. Take the opportunity to meet with the coaches and observe a few practice sessions. The best coaches inspire children to develop their full potential, prioritizing passion, school, and teamwork over winning at all costs.

To be a stellar coach, one must have knowledge of the sport, good motivational skills, and effective communication. A great coach won't force your child to play when they are hurt. Additionally, it's crucial to ensure that the game and practice equipment are in top shape. While you may need to pay a fee for helmets or purchase other required items, the sponsoring association is responsible for providing safe spaces for practice and game day, as well as equipment that meets safety standards.

Lastly, consider the importance of athletic training coverage for practices and games. An athletic trainer can provide injury assessment, injury prevention, and rehabilitation for athletic injuries. By taking these steps before the season starts, you can set the stage for a successful and enjoyable experience for your child.

Gear up

Gear up with the right sports equipment! Once you've received a comprehensive list of recommendations from the coach, it's crucial to ensure your child is outfitted with the appropriate shoes, helmet, pads, and other gear specifically designed for the sport they are participating in. Having the proper gear not only helps children perform at their best, but it also plays a vital role in preventing serious injuries that can occur during sports activities.

It's important to note that while some of these gears can come with a price tag, investing in the right sports gear is a worthwhile decision as it prioritizes your child's safety and well-being, which is truly priceless. So, make sure to gear up and provide the necessary protective equipment to keep your young athlete safe and secure on the field, enabling them to fully enjoy their sports experience!

Fitness for the field

It is crucial to prioritize your child's well-being and safety when it comes to participating in sports. Getting a preseason physical from a doctor is an essential step to ensure that your youngster is both physically mature and healthy enough to engage in their chosen sport. By discussing your child's desired sport with the doctor, you can gain valuable insights on the specific fitness requirements for that particular sport.

This will allow you to support your child in their athletic endeavors and to respect their individual needs and abilities. Remember, investing in your child's fitness and health supports their overall development and sets them up for a successful and enjoyable sports experience.

Pregame strategy

Coach your child about the dangers of playing or practicing when hurt or sick. A minor strain that typically resolves with rest and ice can become a major sprain or even a break when your child tries to push through the hurt and finish a game.

Shoulders, elbows, knees, and ankles are at high risk for injury when practices go too long, especially if your child has noticed pain or discomfort in or near these joints.

Overall health can become an issue if your child returns to activities too quickly after a viral illness or tries to play with a fever, cough, or other ailment. Dehydration is always a concern in sports and can occur very quickly when you’re sick.

Eat healthy

To keep kids in the game and perform their best, it's crucial to provide them with a nutritious diet. Young bones, joints, tendons, and muscles rely on the right balance of nutrition to grow and thrive. Including healthy fats, fresh fruits, lean protein, raw veggies, and foods rich in calcium and other essential minerals in your child's diet can make a big difference. Eating healthy not only fuels their physical performance but also boosts their confidence, as it is the biggest thing they can decide for their well-being.

Prevent overuse by varying the sport

A child who focuses on only one sport means not participating in something else they might enjoy just as much or even more. Overuse injuries, such as tendonitis, also become a potential issue when your child uses the same muscles every day for the same sport.

If your child plays soccer in the fall, consider joining a swim team in the winter to give knees, ankles, and hips a break from soccer’s high-impact workouts. Or take a season off and keep the whole family active with biking adventures or some other fun physical activity.

Make sure practice workouts are also balanced and include age-appropriate endurance, strengthening, and stretching exercises.

Schedule Your Child's Sports Fitness Evaluation Today!

Don't leave your child's sporting success and safety to chance. Contact Barrington Orthopedic Specialists today to make an appointment for a comprehensive fitness evaluation and personalized advice to help your child play it safe and smart on the field! Ensure your child's health and fitness are on point for a successful and enjoyable sports experience.