Play It Safe When It Comes to Youth Sports

April is National Youth Sports Safety Month. Soccer and baseball are well underway, and summer sports are almost here. What are things parents should consider when it comes to sports safety?

Nearly half of all sports injuries that occur (more than five million annually) are due to overuse. A common story might sound like this: A nine-year-old boy participates in baseball games and practices 12 months of the year, plays on travel teams and the local park’s little league team, and then throws balls in his own backyard every night. Due to the stress on his still-developing body, he suffers an arm injury that permanently sidelines him and keeps him off the field he loves. His injury doesn’t just affect his life now but may keep him from learning the lifelong lessons that athletic participation teaches.

Here are some simple tips to help keep kids on the field and out of the operating room:

  • Get a pre-season physical. Our team works closely with the coaching staff and athletic trainers of several local schools, so be sure to check with your school’s athletic department to see if you are eligible for a thorough and cost-friendly physical from our staff.
  • Properly warm up and cool down before and after an activity.
  • Obtain instruction on proper training and technique.
  • Develop skills that are age appropriate.
  • Increase training gradually.
  • Don’t specialize in one sport.
  • Don’t play year-round – rest at the end of each season.
  • Don’t play through the pain – speak up if you are hurt.

Most overuse injuries are preventable but if left untreated, they may require surgery and have lifelong consequences.