Weekend warriors and youngsters excited about a new team sport have one thing in common. Many of the sports injuries they suffer are easily preventable.
Most Common Injuries
Each year, around 30 million children and teenagers participate in organized sports. More than 3.5 million experience related injuries.
Exercising is a great way to lose weight or get in shape. Participation in a sport is especially helpful to a child because it improves fitness, self-discipline and self-esteem. However, lots of things can cause injuries at all ages. The seven most common sports injuries include:
- Swollen muscles
- Injuries to knees
- Strains and sprains
- Injuries to the Achilles tendon
- Shin bone pain
In general, the more contact in a sport, the greater the risk of injury. Knowing the risk factors of a sport should be your first step in avoiding injuries.
Many of the injuries adults experience are the result of overuse of muscles and ligaments or improper conditioning.
Both adults and children can enjoy a sport and get maximum benefits from it by following these guidelines to avoid injuries:
Beat the heat
Drink plenty of fluids like water or sports drinks before starting to play, as well as during and after activity, and wear lightweight clothing. For team sports, consider excessive heat and humidity when scheduling events and practices.
Warm Up and Cool Down
Increase flexibility and decrease the chance of injury to muscles and tendons by doing stretching exercises before and after activity. This applies to both really active sports and less-vigorous ones like golf.
Cool downs are as important as warm ups. They loosen muscles that exercising has tightened. Walk or jog while you feel your pulse decreasing.
Wear the right stuff
You need the proper gear to avoid sports injuries. This means clothing and footwear in the right size. Don’t pass on protective gear that feels bulky just because it’s a practice instead of a game.
Check on field safety
Go over the playing area prior to all competitions and practices. Remove any debris and fix holes or uneven surfaces. After a big rain, make sure the field isn’t too muddy to be safe.
Get medical clearance
A child should see a pediatrician for a complete physical before starting a sport. As for adults, those with prior injuries or certain health conditions such as asthma should be cleared by his or her physician not only for increased overall activity, but also for each specific sport of interest.
Be realistic about your skill level when you pick the appropriate sport. For children, the assessment should include physical capability, maturity and emotional readiness.
Whether you’ve never been hurt or have recovered from a prior sports injury, following these tips can help make your future injury-free.
Alan Rosinski is enjoys sports and other physical activities and often gets jerseys for his team from Cisco Inc. basketball uniforms.
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