Prevent Children From Sports Injuries

Dr. Bruder Stapleton talks about why kids are vulnerable to sports injuries and how to prevent them.

The more children engage in athletic the less likely they are to be obese and less likely to have adult complications. To prevent children from injuries parents should be involved. They should make sure that children wear correct safety gear, they need to have the clear playing surface, need to be checked coach’s training, warm up stretches. You need to find the sport that matches your child size and ability into sports. Make sure to have the right equipment and try to encourage them to do the sports that really fits them. To treat the children injuries learn how to do the RICE . Click this link to find out more on how to heal children safely from sports injury.

Injury Prevention for Children

When I was a young gymnast, my mother had trouble watching me compete on the balance beam.  She said the beam just looked so big and I looked so small, and a fall from that height seemed dangerous.  Fortunately, I grew and the beam remained the same height. Yet, as I got older the injuries were much more frequent due typically because of overuse.  These injuries included sprains, pulled muscles and strains and were an everyday struggle.

Recognizing and preventing possible sports injuries in your children can be challenging.  A good beginning is to understand the common injuries within your children sport.  Parents, coaches, former athletes, and sports medicine practitioners will be able to provide this information.  Some of the most common across many sports are:  sprained ankle, pulled groin and  pulled hamstring. There are also excellent resources online including a website named Youth Sport Parent, which addresses many issues in youth sport beyond injury.

A very popular concern for youth sport injuries today is the overuse injuries that can be caused by chronic play without adequate rest and recovery.  This is a particular concern with some youth sports becoming more specialized encouraging participation in the same sport (and the same sport specific movements) year-round. One of the best things a parent can do is listen to their children talk about how they feel, both physically and mentally.  Furthermore, a parent can follow up with more questions to clarify something their child said.  This can be a simple, but very useful, way to get a better understanding of when rest is needed.

Parents can also talk to their children about both hydration and stretching in and out of their sport training and review muscle pull prevention tips.  Experts on youth sports medicine have encouraged more dynamic, rather than static, stretching during warm up in order to loosen muscles and increase heart rate before vigorous exercise.

Understanding injury prevention in sport will be different for each athlete.  The factors in which an athlete becomes injured can include various physical, emotional, and mental elements.  For parents, it isn’t necessarily only a concern for that one big fall, but a process of understanding the risk and assessing the needs for rest.  Lastly, and most importantly, a parent can help young athletes to begin to understand themselves better especially in terms of a possible risk and the need for recovery.

Goal Setting For Sports Injury Recovery

The concept of injury recovery can seem depressing to all athletes, whether injured or not. I can remember the sports medicine room at my university and the collection of injured athletes from all different sports.  We were the “broken” and some of the healthy athletes avoided the room all together in fear of injury being contagious.  However, we all know that injury is a part of sport and the recovery process can be a very informative experience in understanding yourself better as an athlete.  Though sometimes unpleasant, injury allows a great deal of time for reflection. In injury your body provides a clear message that the pace of your life and sport needs to slow down and begin to heal.

Recovery can be a very frustrating process because athletes quickly go from being very active to doing nothing.  However, it is recommended to think of recovery as an active process rather than a passive one.  One of the most effective ways to become active in the process of recovery is to engage in the process of goal setting.  Goal setting is a part of athletes’ and coaches’ every-day training and should be included in the training regimen for injured athletes as well.

Following Smith’s (1994) SMART Goals create goals that follow guidelines to set you up for success.  SMART is an acronym for specific, measurable, action oriented, realistic, and time-based.  So, an example of a smart goal would be to complete rehabilitation exercises every day for two weeks.  This goal is specific because the exercises would be specifically assigned, measurable because the exercises are numbered or timed, it is action oriented, realistic, and time-based.

Remember these three things when using goal setting in injury recovery:

  1. Write it down. Write your goals down in a journal or a calendar.  This can help you keep track of your progress and represent your commitment to yourself.
  2. Be flexible.  Allow yourself to return to a goal to re-evaluate how realistic it is for you.
  3. Find support.  Goal setting is a much more effective and fun process when you know that you have additional support to give you encouragement or just listen when you need to talk about your experience.

Muscle Pulls Plague Pros and Amateurs Alike

Injury comes with the territory of being an athlete.  No matter what age and what level, injuries of varying severity are likely to occur.  Professional athletes are no exception.  They train day in and day out with considerable pressure to perform.  How well they perform can dictate how well they are paid, and one of the greatest roadblocks to performing at their best includes injury.  In fact, some contracts with professional athletes include sections requiring athletes to maintain good health and well-being

This September, Rafael Nadal, Spanish tennis player, sustained an abdominal muscle injury forcing him to pull out of the Thailand Open and rest for at least two weeks. Fortunately, Nadal recovered from his pulled muscle enough to play in the Shanghai Masters and made it to the final.  Demonstrating how injury riddles professional sports, Nadal beat out his opponent Feliciano Lopez who retired from the match because he was suffering from an ankle injury.  Nadal was relieved to be playing again saying, “I’m just happy to be in the final –my first after the injury comeback.”

The recovery process for injured athletes includes an important piece that Nadal mentioned, the comeback.  Injured athletes who hope to return to their sport can have a challenging road ahead.  The injury can sometimes cause increased performance anxiety, fear of re-injury, and decreased confidence.  In a study about elite athletes returning to their sport after injury, Podlog and Eklund (2009) followed participants for 8 months after injury.  They found that athletes believed they would be successful in their comeback if they felt capable, independent, and connected and supported with those around them.

In professional sports, injury is sometimes portrayed as something to be ashamed of.  However, sometimes the greatest challenge in an athlete’s career is “the comeback”. There is value to the experience, hopefully one each athlete at any level can recognize.  Portland State football player, Jimmy Brown, speaks to that value, “Having an injury like that is a real learning experience.  It’s a heart breaker, but I discovered a determination I didn’t know I had.”