By Will Fuller, Naturotherapist
WOW! The Canada games were an amazing celebration of youth sports and the countless people who made it all happen.
In this month’s post you will learn the top 7 tips and tricks to prevent sports injuries in kids and teens. Helping the active youth stay physical, mentally and emotionally healthy now the games are over.
1) Pre-season training and check in
“Fail to plan, plan to fail”, most youth athletes are active all year round. However, if they have been inactive for a little while, due to an injury or switching between seasons. Planning to get active before the season starts is a great way to reactivate muscle memory and the strength of the musculoskeletal system helping to prevent injury.
Pre-season activities can also be a good way to then communicate with the young athlete to identify any potential discomfort or injuries before the season gets in full swing.
2) Encourage a variety of physical activities
Most young athletes I have met on PEI are already playing multiple sports. Making sure the sports have different biomechanical elements from one another can help prevent overuse injuries. For example if the young athlete is big into hockey, mixing it with swimming allows them to mobilize their shoulders and strengthen the athlete in muscle groups not being highlighted in their chosen sport or activity.
3) Recovery period
Burnout rates of adolescent athletes is estimated at around 35%. Emphasizing the importance of sleep, nutrition and making sure they have rest days in their sporting schedule can be a good place to start.
4) Balanced diet
Encouraging a diet containing healthy fats, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals and plenty of water. Provides all the fundamental building blocks for high performance and recovery. Eating the rainbow everyday and drinking a half to one ounce of water per pound of body weight is an easy way to get the ball rolling.
5) Proper equipment
Buying correct sports equipment for one or more sports can become very expensive, very quickly. Connecting in advance with the sports coach and to see what is needed for an injury free season can help give you more time to shop around and choose the best equipment at the best price.
6) Emphasis proper body mechanics in sport and school
Checking in with the coach from time to time to see if a particular technique or movement can be improved is a cheap and easy way to help support and correct a young athletes biomechanics. This makes sure their functional movement is correct, decreasing the likelihood of overuse and misuse injuries.
Poor posture rates can vary from 30% to 60% in schools, which can be contributed by long hours of sitting, non-ergonomic school furniture and heavy backpacks. While a child might not be complaining of pain after school, when they take their classroom “slouch” into sports, then the misalignment and poor body mechanics increases the likelihood of injury.
7) Identify and treat injury early
Open communication amongst young athletes, especially teens, can be challenging at the best of times. So building a habit of checking in from time to time after practice and competitive matches helps caregivers seek out the right health care professional for effective treatment before it gets alot worse.
I hope you found at least one of these tips and tricks helpful today and if anything my goal is to bring more awareness to the mental and physical health of young athletes. If a persistent sports injury has been hindering your young athlete without improvement for some time, then it might be time to try something new.
P.S Congratulations to all the amazing young athletes, caregivers and volunteers to this year’s Canada Games!
Will Fuller is specialized in “instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization” and “functional Movement Therapy”. He has 20 years experience in sport science, Physical education, multi-disciplinary sports medicine . Recently moved from San Francisco with his young family works from the Reactive Health Stratford clinic and is currently accepting new clients.
Book an appointment today and receive 30% off your first visit!
Call us at (902)370-2327 or click here to book an appointment with Will!