Preventing Youth Sports Injuries
Houston Chiropractor Comments: In my opinion, kids getting involved in youth sports is one of the best things that they can do. Not only do they get the benefit of performing exercise to strengthen their bones and muscles, but they learn about time management, commitment and teamwork. Unfortunately, it is not without injuries.
I had the joy of helping coach several of my children’s youth teams. While it is common for parents to help coach, especially at the youth level, it is not always the best way to prevent injuries. While I had a good understanding of several sports, others, such as soccer, I had no understanding on how to train them.
The lack of proper training from at a young age leads to bad mechanics and overtraining. More than 3.5 million kids ages 14 and under receive medical treatment for sports injuries each year. 90 percent of student athletes report some sort of sports-related injury. 54 percent of student athletes report they have played while injured. 62 percent of organized sports-related injuries occur during practice.
Of these sports basketball has the most injuries overall, but the number of injuries varies with each age group. Football is the most dangerous sport for children ages 5 to 14, while basketball has the highest number of injuries among people ages 15 to 24.
One of the best things to do is to get a preseason physical. In Texas, the male and female sport participants are required to get a physical to play Intermediate or High School sports by a doctor or nurse. Every year we find at least one child who is not cleared to play due to an undiagnosed problem.
Another thing that I suggest is to talk to the athletes about understanding the difference between pain and soreness. Some of the athletes think that it is a badge of honor to be able to play with the pain. Unfortunately, this usually leads to a worsening of the injury.
The kids should be encouraged to play a variety of sports and to cross-train. I see young athletes that are playing on an indoor and outdoor soccer team or they are playing on 2 different select baseball teams. If the child is very good at a young age, some of the coaches/clubs will try and keep the team together and play year-round. The child needs to either play another sport or take time off to prevent an overuse injury.
The team needs to make time for a proper warm-up before practice and adequate stretching when the practice is over. Make time to do both of these.
The young athlete needs to stay properly hydrated, eat a healthy well-balance diet, and make sure to get adequate rest.
Finally, the athletes need to wear the proper equipment for their sport. They should not be playing basketball in running shoes or playing soccer in high-top basketball shoes. This also is true for the proper protective equipment and correct sized equipment like tennis racquets and soccer balls.
If you have any questions about a possible injury or how to possibly prevent a problem in the future, please contact us. We have been treating athletes of all levels and ages for over 30 years in our office in Clear Lake City, TX and we can help you.
Dr. Ward Beecher practices at Beecher Chiropractic Clinic at 1001 Pineloch, Ste 700 Houston, TX 77062. You can schedule an appointment at www.BeecherChiropractic.com or by calling (281) 286-1300. If you have any questions regarding this blog, please comment below!