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Back to school is upon us, and that means kids are going to be playing sports. Some programs may have already started! So whether that means football, soccer, field hockey, or any number of other sports, make sure your child is prepared for the physical demands of athletics. Here are some tips to ensure that this season is safe for everyone.
Most sports injuries can be prevented with forethought, as many injuries in youth sports are due to young players not being made ready for the demands of the game. Here's how to avoid that:
This is an understated problem in youth sports: playing hurt. Overuse injuries are common in youth sports, as growing adolescents cannot handle on the same level of stress on their bones, muscles, or tendons as adult athletes. Combined with the pressure that can be placed on young players, injuries don't get a chance to heal properly, and worsen with each game. If you're an athlete or parent, pay attention to these signs of overuse injuries:
If you're a young athlete and you feel signs of overuse injury, fatigue, burnout, or concussion, speak up! Sit out if you have to. You have control over your body, and no one should feel pressured to participate in a sport that may endanger them. Parents, watch for signs of these issues with your child, and encourage them to be honest about the physical or mental stresses they may be facing during sports.
Many school sports provide equipment, but any athlete should know how to choose the right gear:
Any sport carries the potential for a concussion, when a blow to the head or body causes the head or brain to rapidly move back and forth. This movement can cause the brain to bounce or twist inside the skull, damaging or stretching brain cells and possibly causing chemical changes to the brain. There may be no visible damage when a concussion occurs - you may not even have been hit in the head! That's why knowing what to look for, both immediately afterward and in the days following a potential injury, can be crucial to getting someone the help they need. These may include:
Summer may be ending, but the heat is still an issue when you're exerting yourself on the field. Most fall sports are outdoors, where young athletes and the adults responsible for them should always account for temperature. Here are some tips on athletics when the sun's out:
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