Preventing Injuries In Young Athletes
Identifying and reducing risk factors in sports in especially important in young athletes. A review published in "The Adolescent Athlete" journal found that up to 50% go injuries could be avoided with preventative measures for youth participating in sport. Some key items to consider when looking at preventing injuries include:
- A pre-season screening program to identify muscle imbalances, weakness, previous injury locations and progress of healing at those sites. Waiting for an injury in-season is cuter productive for all athletes but especially young ones.
- An off-season general strength and conditioning program. This should be aimed at maximizing an athletes general movement skills, sport specific injury prevention through balance and strength and general mobility.
- Awareness of how growth affects athletes from not only a performance point of view but also how growth impacts muscles, strength and co-ordination, especially in the lower limbs.
- Awareness of how specific skill sets impact the body through repetitive stress and how to prevent that stress through load management, practice balance and body awareness.
- Early intervention is always the best course of action when dealing with a young athlete. At first sign of dysfunction, even without pain a professional should be consulted to ensure prevention of exacerbation on the condition. "Toughing it out" leads to more issues down the line.
- Understanding that pain is not a "normal part of sport". The old adage "No pain, no gain" needs to be scrubbed from the sporting world. Play and practice smarter and pain can be avoided in all sports.
If you are a coach, parent or athlete looking for more information on these or any sports injury related items, feel free to contact us at any time.