Here in the U.S., roughly 30 million young athletes aged 14 and under participate in organized team sports, an important part of our everyday lives. Not only do they provide enjoyment to millions all over the world, they also help keep us physically active. Unfortunately, they also come with the risk of injury.
As youth sports result in more than 3.5 million sports-related injuries every year, sports safety education is essential in keeping our children injury-free.
Preventing Common Sports Injuries
According to Stanford Children’s Health, approximately 1/3 of all childhood injuries are sports-related. Of those, the most common injuries are sprains (ligament damage) and strains (muscle damage).
These injuries can often be prevented if the right measures have been taken.
Diet and Nutrition
Your body needs to maintain the proper nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to be able to achieve peak performance. A well-balanced diet should consist of the appropriate amounts of macronutrients and micronutrients to give the body the energy it needs to perform. It is also very important to keep your body hydrated. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after each activity.
Warm-ups and Stretching
Not only can warming up help prevent injury, it can also improve your performance during your workout or activity. A proper warm-up should include a combination of light cardio and stretching to increase blood flow and improve flexibility. Check out this quick warm-up routine to help you get started.
Always use appropriate protective equipment according to your sport or activity. Make sure your equipment is in good condition and is the correct fit for your body. Take the time to read any manufacturers’ instructions for proper use of each piece of equipment.
Know Your Limits
Always listen to your body. While it is okay to push yourself at times, don’t overdo it. Overuse injuries are very common and should be monitored. Know when it is time to take a break and rest or hydrate when you get thirsty. Pushing yourself too hard can harm your body and lead to serious injuries.
It is very easy to become completely engulfed in your sport or activity and lose track of what’s going on around you. This can often lead to a blindsided, unintentional injury. Always remember to be aware of your surroundings.
Although all sports and recreational activities come with some risk of injury, we should continue to encourage our youth to participate in sports and physical activities. By staying involved in developing injury prevention strategies and teaching our youth about sports safety, we can ensure the future of youth sports for years to come!