Any parent of a young athlete knows that favorite sporting activities are more than child’s play. The physical aspect of sports is outstanding, keeping children physically fit and progressing in their hand-eye coordination and motor skills. There are also immense opportunities for young athletes of all ages and levels to build strong character traits that lead them through life well. National Youth Sports Week, which happens later this month, allows us to observe the many benefits of sports for children. For our practice, it also paves the way to discuss sports injuries and how to reduce children’s risks.
Size Equals Susceptibility?
Children and teens are not miniature adults. Their bodies are still undergoing tremendous change. Bones are still developing and relying on adequately functioning growth plates for expansion. Hormone shifts can lead to the softening of joints and tendons. These and other aspects of physical development present risks for long-term issues if a severe injury occurs.
Reducing the Risk of Sports Injury for Your Child
The good news about sports injuries is that they are mostly preventable. The level of engagement, the degree of training, and also the type of sport all contribute to the risk of injury. However, savvy coaches and parents can offset the inherent risks of physical activity with a few simple steps:
- Foster a sense of healthy competition in young players.
- Ensure that every young player has undergone a thorough sports physical.
- Obtain adequate protective gear for every player. Make sure that children know how to use their gear and that they use every necessary item.
- Provide time for warm-ups before practice and games.
- Encourage children to stay hydrated while practicing or playing their sport.
- Do not allow a child to play when fatigued or sick.
Youth Sports Provides Significant Benefits
There are numerous reasons for children to take part in their local youth sports program, and these outweigh the risks in most situations. Children who play youth sports are exposed to situations that help them develop self-discipline and self-confidence. Engaging in healthy competition allows a child to learn how to win gracefully and lose with humility. In addition to refining motor skills, young athletes are also able to manage weight and general wellness better than children who are not physically active.
Sports injuries are usually minor enough to allow full recovery, though a damaged joint or bone will put a player on the bench for a short time. If your child needs orthopedic care for any kind of injury, we can help. Contact our New Jersey practice at (973) 942-1315.