Five Tips To Help Your Young Athlete Avoid Sports Injuries

The occurrence of children’s sports-related injuries has dramatically increased in the last decade. More than 3.5 million children, ages 14 and under, receive treatment for sports-related injuries. Getting your child involved in a sport can be great for his or her self-confidence, while improving health and just plain having fun. But, by helping them avoid injury, they’ll enjoy the game more, stay in the game more, and keep training on track!

Children are more susceptible to sports-related injuries for these reasons:

  • Their bodies are still growing.
  • Their coordination and reaction time are sometimes unpredictable.
  • They mature at different rates.
  • Children may take unnecessary risks.

Alas, injuries will happen, but they can be kept to a minimum if parents have a plan to teach their children how to avoid them. Here are several easy tips for parents’ use to guide their children in preventing sports-related injuries:

Get Proper Nutrition

Children should eat a low-carbohydrate, high-protein breakfast. Pack high nutrition snacks in the backpack, like apples, bananas, whole wheat crackers, peanut butter sandwiches, or oatmeal cookies, for when hunger strikes.

Stay Hydrated

Since the body, muscles, tendons and ligaments are made up of at least 70% water, then does it really make sense to drink soda? No! Juices and energy drinks don’t add to your body’s water content. Drink a glass of cool clear water with each meal. Guzzle at least a glass before working out, and at least one or two glasses afterwards. This helps prevent muscle cramping, and carries out the many chemical processes that a healthy body requires.

Warm Up & Stretch

Muscles should be warmed up with light stretching. Don’t bounce or pull the muscle until it hurts. Stretching brings blood into the muscle and actually lengthens the muscle. So, as muscles are used in sports play, they contract like they’re supposed to. Warming up with stretches prevents strains and sprains. By the way, stretching after a workout eliminates a lot of soreness, helps the muscles heal and repair itself.

Don’t Overuse

Avoid injuries from overusing the same muscles, by playing different sports. On the day off from practice, play a different game for fun. Or ride bikes, skateboards or skate. Using different muscle groups makes a young athlete’s body stronger overall.

Take Rest Days

Even major-leaguers and professional athletes vary their workouts and take time off to rest. Children should never be allowed to play, or coaxed into playing, when they have pain. If a muscle hurts, it needs heat, stretching and rest. Children set themselves up for even more serious injuries, when they play sore or in pain. Forget that “no pain, no gain” stuff. They will stay in the game longer, if you as parents teach them the basics of avoiding sports-related injuries.

Written by: Ruby Holder Moseley, FizzNiche Staff Writer

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Tips For Preventing Sports Injuries

Young Boy Playing BasketballSpring is here and so are spring sports. April is Youth Sport Safety Month. We found some great tips on for preventing sport injuries.

Get a Pre-Participation Physical

Have your child receive a pre-participation physical. Having an annual pre-participation physical exam allows for the screening, prevention, and treatment of any conditions.

Always Warm Up

Encourage your child to warm up properly before an activity. Warming up before an activity involves gradually bringing the heart rate up from the resting level by engaging in low-impact exercise such as jogging in place. Athletes should also stretch their muscles to release tension and help prevent injury. Stretching involves going just beyond the point of resistance and should not include bouncing. Stretches should be held for 10-12 seconds.

Always Cool Down

Be sure your child cools down properly after an activity. Cooling down after an activity allows an athlete’s heart rate to gradually return to a resting level. Once again, stretching may be helpful to avoid injury.

Listen Up

Obtain instruction on proper training and technique. Coaches and trainers are there to help teach proper technique and avoid injuries. It is very important for your child to listen to their instructions because most overuse injuries occur because of improper training or technique. Before beginning any training program or activity, work with a physician and/or coach to make sure the program won’t cause chronic or recurrent problems. They will take into consideration your child’s current fitness level and how the training program might complement or hurt it.

Increase Training Gradually

When deciding when and how much to push your child to the next level, remember the 10 percent rule: do not increase training activity, weight, mileage, or pace by more than 10 percent per week. This allows the body ample time to recover.

Check Equipment

Have your child wear proper fitting equipment. Make sure your child’s equipment such as running shoes are in good condition and fit properly. Something as simple as weekly equipment checks may help minimize the potential for injury.

Stay Hydrated

Be sure your child drinks enough water. Athletes often forget to hydrate—an essential step for the body to run well. Hydration allows muscles to work properly and avoid cramps and spasms. See that your child takes water breaks every 30 minutes or more, based on the level of activity and temperature.

Take Breaks

Encourage your child to rest and take a break. Athletes who play sports year-round are more likely than others to experience overuse injuries because they aren’t giving their bodies a chance to rest and recover. Encourage your child to take at least one season off a year. Also, suggest ways for your child to mix it up—encourage your child to play different sports during the year to avoid using the same muscle groups continuously, which can also lead to overuse injuries.

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How to Prevent and Spot Overuse Injuries in Kids

Pixmac000085722326April is Youth Sport Safety Month, so we want to spread the word about the importance of keeping your child safe when playing sports.

Go to for some great information about detecting injuries and preventing them. Below are some tips on how to prevent and spot overuse injuries in kids.

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