Participation in team and individual sports is a valuable and rewarding experience for youth. Interacting with like-minded peers, staying physically active, and developing self-esteem and self-discipline are just a few of the many benefits of playing sports. However, there are a number of potential safety risks inherent in most sports which players, parents, and coaches should all be aware of. To avoid a sports injury, follow these tips from orthopedic specialist Michael J. Greller, MD, FAAOS of AOSMI.
- Have the Proper Gear and Safety Equipment. Some sports require cleats to avoid slips and falls in grass or twisting of ankles. Many sports require the use of a helmet, mouthguard, or other protective gear. Does your child’s sport recommend tight or loose fitting clothing? All of these considerations should be made when preparing for the season of sports to come.
- Warm Up–Every Time. It doesn’t matter if you’re practicing drills in the backyard or getting amped up for the championship game–stretching and getting warmed up is never optional. Warming up helps the muscles and joints prepare for an expanded range of motion, so they aren’t overwhelmed with the fast-paced twisting and stretching required in the game. Jumping into the game without warming up puts players at substantial risk for painful sprains and tears.
- Stay Positive. For the many physical risks in sports activities, there are many–often overlooked–psychological risks as well. Whether you are a coach, player, or parent, keeping a respectful and positive attitude toward oneself, one’s team, and the opposition is essential for the experience of sports to be a rewarding, character building one.
Most importantly, if your child does experience an injury while playing sports, it is essential to see a sports injury specialist immediately. Even if the pain is minimal, continuing to play with even a small fracture or tear can quickly escalate into a major injury that can keep even the best player out of the game all season. Contact AOSMI today if your child has experienced an injury on the field.