Students are all heading back to school, and for many young people, this time of year also marks the beginning of the fall sports season. As exciting as it is to watch your child take to the field with their football or soccer team, it’s also important to remember that participation in many fall sports can also put them at risk for sustaining a variety of orthopedic injuries.
Dr. Rytel wants both parents and children to be knowledgeable about how best to prevent sports injuries, allowing all parties to enjoy the fall sports season without worry. Here are four tips for preventing common fall sports injuries this year:
1. Stretch Before You Play
It can be difficult to remember to warm up, especially for kids who just want to get out and play. But the importance of giving your body the appropriate stretches before any physical activity -- especially sport -- cannot be stressed enough. When the muscles aren’t stretched, they become tighter, and the distance they’re capable of spanning becomes shorter. If this stiffness isn’t addressed through proper warm ups designed to take the muscles to their full range of motion, your child’s tendons and ligaments are significantly more prone to injury on the field.
2. Keep Your Body Hydrated
Drinking plenty of water isn’t just important for keeping up stamina and preventing dehydration. Without an appropriate amount of hydration, your child’s body is actually more prone to injuries. As we use our muscles, especially during intense athletic activity, they gradually lose water. After losing a certain amount of water, these muscles become tense, reducing athletic performance and making injuries more likely. Likewise, as your child sweats while playing sports, they’re losing essential water, salt, and electrolytes(opens in a new tab), making them vulnerable to muscle cramps and even heat stroke.
3. Know the Common Causes of Sports Injuries
Awareness of what can potentially cause an injury in your child is the first step to understanding how to prevent it. For example, certain fall sports carry a higher risk of injury than others. Some of the most high-risk fall sports include:
- Field hockey
It’s also important to be aware of which injuries are most prevalent in kids who play sports, and why they happen. Some of the most common fall sports injuries include:
- Knee injuries, including ACL tears, which can happen as a result of landing in an appropriate position, stopping or pivoring suddenly on the feet, or otherwise putting excessive amounts of force on the ligament.
- Sprains and strains, which can happen when an arm, leg or shoulder is overextended and the muscle is overstretched (or, in some cases, torn).
- Concussions, which are brain injuries resulting from blows to the head, either from another person’s limb, a ball, a stick, or a fall to the ground.
4. Have a Preseason Exam
For some student athletes, previous underlying conditions can pose unexpected risks of injury during the fall sports season, taking parents, teams, and children by surprise. Scheduling a preseason exam for your student athlete with a sports medicine specialist like Dr. Michael J. Rytel can give you and your child the security and peace of mind they need to hit the field with confidence and safety this fall.
When your student athlete takes the appropriate measures, fall sports injuries can be preventable. If you do find yourself or your athlete in need of sport injuries treatment, Dr. Michael Rytel will be here to help. Dr. Rytel specializes in sports medicine and routinely treats a wide variety of sports-related injuries, giving him the expertise to offer an accurate diagnosis and an individualized treatment plan. If you’re looking for an experienced sports doctor near you, schedule an appointment with Dr. Rytel today!