Playing a sport can teach your child the importance of teamwork, perseverance and discipline. It gives them a positive outlet that often continues year-round. But any sport can lead to injury and with the level of play more intense than ever, it is important to know how to protect your child’s growing body from injury.
- Warm-up. Make sure they get their blood flowing and heart rate pumping with a light jog or even some jumping jacks. Stretch out muscles and focus on whatever movements you will be using during your desired activity.
- Stay hydrated. Before, during and after, it’s crucial to stay hydrated. This helps cool their body down, preventing heat illness and microscopic damage to muscle fibers that lead to increased fatigue, muscle soreness and possible injury.
- Post-activity cool down. A light jog and some stretching can help cool the body down to a normal state. This will decrease muscle soreness, aid in recovery and improve flexibility.
- Rest and listen to the body. Proper rest allows for better recovery after activity! Urge your child to listen to their body. Pain, fatigue and other symptoms are ways the body tells them that something is not right. Being aware as these warning signs will help them stay safe all year long.
- Schedule a sports physical. This is one of the MOST IMPORTANT steps you can take when helping your child stay on top of their game! Sports physicals will evaluate your child’s readiness to participate in athletics and identify issues that need to be addressed to ensure your child is happy, safe and injury free.
Make an appointment with one of Hoag’s sports medicine experts for your child’s school sports physical today at hoaghealth.org.