How To Care For Your Young Athlete

It has been estimated that three out of four  families with school-aged children in America have at least one child involved in an organized sport. For many Americans, participating in organized sports is an essential part of childhood. While organized sports are generally considered good for children, both physically and mentally, the experience isn’t always fun and games.

Practice, games and the many other demands of being involved in an organized sport can result in injuries or even physical developmental issues. Highly demanding sports with rigorous training schedules — such as wrestling, football and gymnastics — can be more detrimental to a child’s health than others.

However, that doesn’t mean your child shouldn’t participate. It simply means that parents and children must learn how to protect themselves from certain injuries and prepare their bodies for the demands of the sports they’re going to play. Here are some essential tips to help you care for your young athlete and prevent sports-related injuries.

Proper Equipment Is a Must

Sports equipment may not always be cheap, but it’s essential to outfit your child with the proper equipment required for his or her sport. Choosing the correct equipment also means ensuring it fits properly. Always inspect your child’s provided equipment, and speak with the trainer or coach if you see any issues. Items such as shoes, pads and helmets must fit properly, and that means you may need to enlist the help of a professional when purchasing.

Stay Ahead of Injuries

It’s easy to fall into a pattern of being reactive when dealing with injuries. You simply go to the doctor once an injury, such as a broken arm or sprained ankle, is obtained. However, waiting until a problem occurs means it can become a long-term issue. Be sure your child performs a warm-up session and stretching routine before every practice or game. Warming before performing reduces the risk of pulled or torn muscles, and flexibility is key to avoiding injury and playing your best.

Don’t Forget Vitamins

Vitamins can help maintain your young athlete’s good health, reduce pain and promote healing. Vitamin C and a multivitamin are often recommended for children who play organized sports, while amino acids and Vitamin B are known to reduce pain from contact sports (i.e., football and wrestling). Speak to your child’s physician about which vitamins are best for his or her sports regimen.

Spot Injuries/Weaknesses Before They Become Problems

When kids fall, they often leap to their feet before spectators notice anything happened. Even if you’re watching closely, it can be difficult to tell if your child sustained an injury. Encourage your child to tell you whenever a muscle, joint or other body part is uncomfortable. Kids should be seen by medical professionals numerous times throughout the season, not only when an injury has occurred.

Have a Chiropractor Locate Problems Before They Are Long-Term

Even the smallest injury can turn into a health issue that sticks with a child for his or her entire life. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent these issues from becoming long-term health problems. Taking your child to a chiropractor multiple times throughout the season can help identify issues, such as subluxation, which are often “silent” at first. Many times before a person feels the damage of subluxation — misalignment of vertebrae in the spine — more serious issues have already developed. Regular treatments and checkups are the key to combating this.

The demands of having a child in an organized sport can be overwhelming, but a few simple steps can aid your child’s health and performance on the field or court. Always buy the proper equipment, encourage healthy pre-workout routines, stay ahead of injuries and visit a chiropractor before your little one heads to his or her first practice or game.