ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Avoid Common Sports Injuries in Kids

Updated on June 29, 2013

All Sports Have a Risk of Injury

Playing sports can keep you healthy and strong, but there is always a risk of injury.
Playing sports can keep you healthy and strong, but there is always a risk of injury. | Source

Did You Know?

  • Staying well hydrated with WATER before, during and after sports helps your body stay healthy and strong and can lead to less injuries.
  • A well balanced diet with plenty of lean protein and dairy can help strengthen muscles and bones to make them less susceptible to injury.
  • Although sports drinks are good if you are active for several hours, many kids drink too much and consume way more sugar than they should through sports drinks. If water alone does not seem to help your child cool down, drink one sports drink and then go back to water.

Sports Accessories to Keep Your Child Safe

Tips to Avoid Common Sports Injuries

As a mother of two athletic kids, a volunteer coach, and a runner myself, I have seen my fair share of sports injuries. Although some sports are more dangerous than others, there are some injuries that are common across many sports. Ankle, shoulder, and knee strains and sprains are the most common injuries I have seen in children between the ages of 5 and 16 years old. However, many of those common sports injuries can be prevented by following a few simple tips.

Tip #1- Stretch, Stretch, and Stretch Again
Stretching for at least five to ten minutes before physical activity is very important. If your youth sport program is not building stretching into practice time, be sure to have your child arrive early and stretch on their own. Child athletes should also stretch after physical activity as well. Many strains, sprains, and pulls are due to children not stretching properly. The best way to stretch all muscles in your body is to do a light jog for five minutes to get your muscles warmed up; then work from your shoulders down your body to stretch all other parts of you body. Finally, go back and do more intensive stretches in the areas of the body that will be used the most during the sporting activity.

Tip #2-Avoid Dental Repair-Get a Mouth Guard
Although mouth guards have become more fashionable over the years, many kids still hate to wear them. The result of not wearing a mouth guard can be bloody tongues, cut cheeks, or even knocked out teeth. Mouth guards can run from $1 up to $20, and believe me that expense is minimal compared to extensive dental work or cosmetic surgery. Wearing a mouth guard is not a guarantee that you will avoid all mouth related injuries, but is sure reduces the risk!

Tip #3-When In Doubt, Wrap it Up
If your child has an ankle or joint that seems a little sore, it is best to keep it wrapped during physical activity. There are many types of wraps, and if you are not sure which one is best for your child, check with your school's trainer or ask your family doctor to recommend the best preventative wrap to use for your child.

Tip #4- Wear the Right Shoes Outside of Sports
Although many parents spend a lot of money getting all the right equipment and cleats for their child to wear during sports activities, many parents don't realize the importance of good footwear outside of sports. Sometimes children may weaken an area of their body and if they continue to walk around all day in shoes that don't give them proper leg, ankle and back support, they can cause the injury to get worse, without even realizing it. It is also a good idea to only let your child wear flip-flops a few hours a day, since they offer no ankle, arch, or back support, which if worn all the time, can weaken the ankle and foot arch area.

Tip #5- Always Make Sure Your Child Has the Right Size
When you are purchasing protective gear or footwear for a sport, make sure you consult with the coach or a trainer on how the equipment should fit and what size you should be purchasing for your child. Incorrect shin guards, pads, cleats, or other equipment could leave you child more vulnerable to injury.

Warm Ups and Stretching for All Sports

Prior to doing any stretching, it is important to warm up your muscles a little. If you stretch without doing a warm up activity, you are doing what is called 'cold stretching' and it can often lead to back and hamstring injuries. Warm ups can consist of jumping jacks, a light jog around the court or field a few times, or skipping. After a few minutes of a warm up activity, all muscles in your body should be stretched, but the muscles used most in the sport should get extra attention. For example, a basketball player should stretch their shoulder muscles a little more, but still stretch all other areas of their body as well. See the videos to the right for some warm up and stretching exercise ideas.

Avoiding a Re-injury

If your child does experience an injury while playing sports you should do the following:

  • Get the child to a doctor or emergency room within a few hours of the injury. It is always better to be safe than sorry!
  • Follow your doctor's advice completely and see a physical therapist if needed.
  • If your child does not start improving within a few days after the injury it may be necessary to see an orthopedic doctor or get a second opinion on the injury.
  • Your child should avoid physical activity for a few days and try to rest the injured area as much as possible.
  • When your child is released to resume sports, PROTECT the injured area!

My daughter hurt her ankle one year in spring soccer, and we did everything the doctor said. It got better as the season went on and by basketball season she wasn't having any problems at all. The following spring we forgot all about her ankle ever being hurt and during the first game someone kicked the same are and she was in extreme pain again. We could have avoided that my wearing an ankle brace all the time during soccer. We have learned the hard way how important it is to prevent re-injury. Many kids wear braces and other support devices while playing sports just to avoid re-injury and believe me, it is worth it!

We also learned the importance of doing conditioning exercises on the off season to avoid re-injury. By strengthen the injured area your child can reduce the risk of re-injury. Some sports clubs, YMCAs, and schools offer off-season conditioning sessions for specific sports. If there is not something like this available in your area, talk with your doctor or a physical therapist about the best conditioning exercises for the sport your child plays.

How Much Do You Know About Sport Related Injuries?

view quiz statistics

All the information in this article is based on personal experience as a mom of two athletic children and years of coaching youth sports. It is always best to discuss your child's activity and prevention techniques with your family doctor since every child is different. Despite following these tips, some children may still have a sports related injury, and if so, it is important to consult with a doctor rather than treat the injury yourself. Many children can have lifelong problems if an injury is not dealt with properly.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • chrissieklinger profile imageAUTHOR

      chrissieklinger 

      5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Tonette, glad to hear you are helping kids learn how important stretching and cooling down really are!

    • Tonipet profile image

      Tonette Fornillos 

      5 years ago from The City of Generals

      Hi Chrissie! I scored 60% in the quiz, lol....meaning I was lucky to make it by I learned something! I believe in warming up and stretching, in my resistance training, I do it along with cooling down, a thing I also teach to kids. Thank you for this. My votes and SHARING! :=)-Tonette

    • torrilynn profile image

      torrilynn 

      5 years ago

      @chrissieklinger you are very welcome.

    • chrissieklinger profile imageAUTHOR

      chrissieklinger 

      5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Sometimes no matter how much you try to protect your child you will have people on another team do things they shouldn't which leads to unavoidable injuries and that is the worst to deal with. One time someone on another team kicked at the soccer ball while he was lying on the ground which is not allowed and he broke a girls foot on our team. That is the reason you are not supposed to do that and the refs didn't even call a penalty on him.....very frustrating! Glad you enjoyed the article :)

    • torrilynn profile image

      torrilynn 

      5 years ago

      @chrissieklinger thanks for this article. I believe some common injuries are preventable, while others are not. sports and children are so unpredictable sometimes that anything can happen. Overall, nice and voted up.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)