Injury is, and always has been, a part of sports. Kids sprain ankles and break arms as a result of falls, hard tackles or an awkward step. But more and more kids are suffering from overuse injuries previously associated with adult and professional athletes. Dr. Tommy John, son of former baseball great Tommy John and the namesake for UCL or “Tommy John” surgery, lays out 5 ways to reduce the risk of these injures in teens and adolescents who participate in sports.
Young Athletes Should Play Multiple Sports.
More and more kids are starting to specialize in one sport at earlier ages. Many coaches and parents believe it gives kids an advantage. According to Stop Sports Injury specialization can actually do more harm than good. Playing multiple sports allows kids bodies to move at different speeds, in different directions and develop muscles differently. Specialization should be avoided well into high school if possible
Play Sports Seasons, and Avoid Playing Sports Year-Round.
As sports become more competitive and more expensive, parents are tempted to keep their children involved in sports year-round. But playing sports non-stop can lead to burn-out, acute injury and long-term chronic problems which could plague kids well in to adulthood. Kids should play sports’ seasons and take breaks to recharge their bodies and their brains.
Great youth strength training or sports performance program participation.
Kids involved in competitive sports should participate in youth sports performance programs to help with strength, balance, neuromuscular control and stability. The programs should be specifically for adolescent and teen sports performance to address the needs of young athletes.
Regular Stretching for Injury Prevention.
Regular stretching, both dynamic and static, can dramatically reduce the risk of Injury. Over active and tight muscles can cause imbalances in a young body. These imbalances often lead to altered movement patters and over-compensation by other muscles. As a result chronic injuries start to develop over time and may require surgery or be impossible to fix.
Stay Active in the Off-Season.
Do not sit around during the off-season. This is when kids can attend a youth sports performance program or spend time being a kid. Going outside and riding a bike, climbing a tree, playing tag with the neighbors or just running around is another great way to avoid burnout, relieve stress and reduce injury risk.
Do your kids play more than one sport, or have they started specializing? How old were they when they started specializing? Have they suffered any related injuries? Are they actively involved in a strength program? Leave your comments below and don’t forget to sign-up for updates and forward this to a friend you think would enjoy the information.