Playing any sport offers tons of benefits for young athletes. With the increasing number of sports camps, local leagues, and other opportunities to engage in sports, it’s easier to stay active almost year-round no matter which sport you choose.
But spending too much time playing sports comes with drawbacks as well. Spending way too much time on the court or on the field increases the risk of injury.
If your child is a young athlete, here are several helpful tips you can follow to keep him or her from getting injured:
Have a conversation
One of the most important things that is often overlooked is maintaining good communication with your child. Make sure he or she knows that you need to be aware of any pain or discomfort he may be feeling, no matter how minor. Some kids and teens simply choose to “tough it out” when it comes to injuries, which could lead to more serious conditions if left untreated.
Make sure they get plenty of rest
Factors such as muscle fatigue or poor sleep quality can make a young athlete susceptible to injury. And because most kids and teens have an abundance of energy, it can be easy for them to neglect rest. They should understand the importance of recuperating, so make sure they get plenty of rest between practices or games.
Give them a nutritious and well-balanced diet
Parents need to make sure their kids maintain healthy eating habits, especially if they’re in sports that put emphasis on weight, such as wrestling. Some injuries are unavoidable, yet maintaining optimum condition can lessen their chance of happening. Make sure they get a well-balanced diet with lots of fruit, vegetables, and lean protein.
Make sure they’re properly hydrated
Parents should always make sure their children are properly hydrated – they should be drinking a sufficient amount of water before, during, and after engaging in sports. Always keep an eye out for any symptoms of heat-related illness such as nausea, vomiting, excessive fatigue, and light-headedness.
Proper technique and form is important
There’s a proper technique when it comes to performing movements in any sport. Performing actions such as tackling opposing players, rebounding a basketball, or throwing a baseball can lead to injury if done incorrectly. In addition, parents should set guidelines with their child’s practice sessions – too many hours spent practicing can put too much strain on the body.
Emphasize the importance of warming up
Athletes of any age should adopt the habit of stretching before practicing or playing in a game. A combination of static and dynamic stretching exercises can help loosen the muscles, preparing them for activity. Static stretching is when you hold a certain position for several seconds, like toe touches, while dynamic exercises involve more movement while stretching, like jumping jacks.
Look out for any signs of injury, and deal with it immediately
Major problems and complications can arise with injuries that are left untreated. Continuing any athletic activity while injured can lead to serious damage on the body. Parents should take even subtle signs such as limping or any awkward motions seriously. If any of your child’s actions during games seem unusual, have your child assessed after the game.