Are you the parent of a young athlete in a competitive sport? Do you worry about your child being one of an increasing number of those suffering a major injury at a young age? If not, you should, because over the past several years, injuries among young athletes have been on the rise.
We all know that participation in any kind of sport carries the potential for injury. That’s why we sign all of those release forms before allowing our kiddos to become members of any competitive club or school team.
The alarming rise in youth sports injuries are primarily due to overuse, ignoring pain, and not practicing injury prevention.
While most sports still technically have a “season,” many athletes now train in the same sport year round. Instead of mixing it up and running and lifting in the off-season, football players now switch to 7 on 7 and volleyball, baseball, soccer and softball players join travel teams on the tournament circuit in an effort to keep up with skills and increase the likelihood of being seen by coaches and scouts in the summer time. This doesn’t allow the still-growing bodies of these athletes any recovery time, and, as a result, doctors are seeing middle school and high school kids with overuse injuries once reserved for collegiate and pro athletes.
Ignoring “Minor” Pain
Many people ignore seemingly minor injuries or pain that is “not that bad,” because they don’t want to take time away from training. Pain is your body’s way of letting you know that something’s not right, and ignoring it is the worst thing you could do as an athlete. As you continue to train and practice with a minor injury, you’re likely to not only exacerbate the trauma, but increase the injury recovery time as well.
Not Practicing Proper Injury Prevention
While overuse occurs over time, traumatic injuries are often the result of improper technique or failing to warm up adequately. Ensuring that athletes practice their chosen sport with the correct form and technique and put in the time to prepare the body for exertion before practice starts can go a long way toward reducing the potential for injury.
Resist the temptation to allow your child to “play through the pain” out of fear of them falling behind, and consider the greater damage to training and their school and club sports career if they must sit out due to surgery. Instead, visiting a sports injury specialist can help heal young athletes’ injuries with corrective exercises.