Sooner than later, we will fully return to playing sports. In fact, some recreation leagues and schools are ramping up their programs now. Many kids have found ways to keep fitness levels up during the pandemic. But even the most active kids need to be mindful before they jump back into competition. As a parent, guardian or coach, here are the seven key tips to keep active kids free from sports injuries as we return to the fields, courts, tracks, and pools.
1. Warm-Up and Cool-Down – All athletes need to stretch their muscles to release tension and prevent injury before and after playing sports.
2. Hydrate – Hydrate adequately to maintain health and minimize cramps. Kids often forget to drink water while playing sports. Muscles need hydration to work properly and avoid cramps. Your child should take water breaks every 30 minutes or more.
3. Wear Protective Equipment that Fits – Have your child wear properly sized equipment. Check it weekly to make sure it still fits to avoid injury.
4. Practice Proper Technique – Get instruction on proper technique. Coaches and trainers are there to teach the proper technique to avoid injuries.
5. Increase Training Gradually – Remember the 10 percent rule and do not increase training activity, weight, mileage or pace by more than 10 percent per week. This allows your child’s body time to recover.
6. Take a Break and Rest – Encourage your child to rest, take breaks or the next season off. If your child can play a different sport during the year, they may avoid using the same muscle groups continuously, which can lead to injuries.
7. Schedule a Pre-Participation Physical – Schedule a pre-participation physical, which allows for the screening, prevention, and treatment of any condition. And, MOSH screenings meet WIAA requirements.