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5 Tips to Help Prevent Injuries in Young Athletes

By Stephen R. Farris

During my years of covering high school and college sports, it seemed at least every other month or so there was a young athlete leaving a game with a sports-related injury.

Some of those injuries resulted in the athlete having to miss several weeks or the rest of the season. The majority of the injuries I saw had to do with the knee, and when the athlete returned to the sidelines, they were often seen on crutches after having to undergo surgery for their particular injury.

A lot of those injuries could possibly have been prevented if they -- or their coaches -- had followed a few simple tips.

Talk With Your Athletes

This doesn't just apply to coaches, but also to the parents of young athletes. Make sure they completely understand that if they don't feel right -- muscle pain, joint pain, etc. -- he/she should always talk with you about it. Pushing through pain is not always the best choice, and could cause serious problems later on.

Preseason Physicals

I would say that all school sports require a preseason physical for their athletes. However, athletes participating in youth organized sports provided by sporting clubs and even your local parks and recreation department normally do not require a child to get a physical examination before participating. It's always best -- as a parent -- to serve on the side of caution and get your child a physical prior to the start of any athletic season.

Cross-Training

Not all sports programs require athletes to concentrate on one particular sport. Most often they encourage young athletes to participate in a variety of sports. I've seen athletes at the high school level compete in cross-country running on the weekends, play football on Friday nights, and compete in soccer or baseball during the week. Cross-training helps young athletes use different muscle groups and usually helps them keep from overusing the same ones over and over, which could lead to injury.

Warming Up

Even at a young age, athletes should still implement stretching before beginning drills or playing in their respective sporting activity.

Rest

Young athletes should get plenty of rest in order for their body to recuperate from the sporting activities they might be involved in. This also applies to older athletes and weekend warriors as well.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Rocklin, Calif.

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