Injuries are a part and parcel of any sport. They are also a part and parcel of childhood. So when your little one decides to seriously take on a sport the risk of injuries increase. That doesn’t mean you stop them from doing it. Sport is a great activity for children that keeps them healthy and teaches them a number of life lessons. Seems almost like a devil and the deep blue sea situation? Trust, it’s not. As a parent, all you need to do is manage your child’s sporting activities well and here are a few tips to do just that.
Here are a few easy tips for preventing sports injuries in kids and teens:
1. Its okay to feel pain: Children need to understand that feeling pain is not a sign of weakness nor does it mean that they constantly have to push themselves harder to overcome it. Speak to the coach and your child. Some amount of pain is expected during sport but your child needs to understand when they are pushing their own limits. They also need to understand that it’s okay to stop. If you notice a change in the way they walk or the way they are playing their sport, stop them immediately. They may be modifying their posture to accommodate an injury.
2. Plan their diet: Make sure your child eats a healthy well-balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables and protein. Ask their coach if the workout demands a special diet. Keep meal timings fixed as well.
3. Make sure they drink enough fluids: Sweating during a workout increases the risk of injury and illness. For this reason, it is important to ensure your child keeps well-hydrated at before, after and during his/her workout. Lack of fluids has detrimental effects on the health of a sportsperson both in the short run and long run.
4. Rest is equally important: Sports schedules can be extremely grueling. Combined with school and other activities your child can get fatigued. Ensure your child gets enough sleep through all of this. If they don’t have enough time to sleep at night ensure they have a nap in the day.
5. Invest in equipment: You don’t need to buy the most expensive equipment. You need to ensure that the equipment you get is durable and practical. Familiarize yourself with your Childs’ sport and understand the kind of protective gear required. Make sure the gear is in good condition and is regularly replaced. Check the condition of your child’s footwear. Bad footwear can cause long-term damage. Apart from protective gear, make sure the sporting equipment itself is in good condition. E.g. – Racquet strings, bats, balls etc.
Where possible ensure your child wears a helmet during sport. Head injuries and concussions don’t happen too often but when they do, the helmet is a saving grace.
6. Warm-up: You yourself may not understand the nuances of sport, but warming up is basic, across all games. Any good coach will make sure you child warms up before beginning practice. If for some reason this is not happening, be sure to change it. Stretching is a proven way to reduce the risk of injury for athletes. It helps make the muscles supple and ready for sport. Doing a combination of dynamic and static stretches is recommended. Dynamic stretches are those where the body continues to move while stretching such as in the case of jumping jacks. While static stretches are those where one holds the pose for a bit, such as when we touch our toes without bending our knees.
7. Add variety to the routine: Try and get your child to do another activity 1-2 days in the week. This will ensure that they do not continuously stress the same muscles and joints. Even if your child is extremely focused on playing only one sport, any good coaching routine will have a day or two of a less-intensity/different workout.
Even after all these precautionary methods, injuries are possible. Don’t worry. Spinalogy Clinic will help you resolve your young athletes’ injuries. So, your child can have a physically active, healthy childhood.
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