Steps to Prevent Injury in Youth Sports

Winter is upon us and with it comes a new sports season. As your children prepare for the start of a new season, help ensure  them a season without injury. According to Campbell 2006, “Children need proper physiologic conditioning, strength and flexibility to participate safely in an organized or recreational athletic endeavor” (p 519)[1]. So what does this mean for your children when they’re playing sports?  Read on for tips to keep them injury free.

Tips to Prevent Injury during Kid’s Sports:

  • Proper Warm-Up: Ensure that your child warms up their muscles with a light jog prior to stretching. This ensures that they can get a good stretch, preventing  muscle strains and pulls.
  • Attend Practices Regularly: Your child’s coach should be trained in age-appropriate conditioning. By attending practices, your child gains sport-specific strength and endurance. A child that only shows up to games does not have that conditioning and risks injuring themselves with over exertion.
  • Proper Shoe Ware: Prior to the start of the season, make sure to check your child’s shoes for the following: toe box, support, and size.  Make sure that the toe box is large enough to allow your child’s toes to lay flat and wiggle.  Insufficient toe space can cause blisters and bruises to form. Make sure the shoe you decide on has appropriate support both in the arch and around the ankle. Children with low arches may need inserts regardless of shoe choice. Make sure the shoe is the right size. Shoes that are too big will not provide support in the appropriate places and can increase risk of falls.
  • Eat Healthy and Stay Hydrated: Muscles need fuel just like cars do. A well balanced diet is filled with lots of energy providing ATP. While ATP provides the fuel for muscles, drinking plenty of water allows them to run smoothly. It is recommended that your kids drink fluids prior to, during, and after participating in sports.

These precautions are necessary all year, but particularly in the winter.   If you feel your child is at risk for a sport-specific injury due to de-conditioning, weakness, or decreased flexibility, contact North Shore Pediatric Therapy for a sports-specific physical therapy evaluation.  Be safe and have fun!

Click here to read more on winter activities to help with gross motor coordination.

[1]Bainbridge, DB. (2006). Sports Injuries in Children. In Campbell, SK, Vander Linden DW, and Palisano RJ (Eds.), Physical Therapy for Children (517-556). St. Louis: Saunders Elsevier.