Newswise — Arlington, Va.- It's back to school and fall sports season. Unfortunately, for some, fall sports may come with sports injuries. This year, parents and their children should consider body conditioning and proper nutrition, among other factors, for injury prevention on and off the playing field.
“Warming up, healthy eating, hydration and adequate rest are a few basic yet essential tactics that student athletes should practice as part of an injury-prevention strategy,” says Michael Simone, DC, a member of the American Chiropractic Association’s (ACA) Sports Council. "Young athletes often think they are invincible, but it's important for them to prepare their bodies for play to reduce their risk of being hurt."
Highly competitive sports such as football, soccer and wrestling follow rigorous training schedules that could be dangerous to an adolescent or teenager. The best advice for parents who have young athletes in the family is to help educate them on how to protect themselves from sports-related injuries before they happen.
Consider the following tips for sports injury prevention:
- Wear the proper equipment: Certain contact sports, such as football and hockey, can be dangerous if the equipment is not properly fitted. Make sure all equipment, including helmets, pads and shoes fit your child.
- Maintain a healthy weight: Certain sports, like wrestling and gymnastics, may require your young athletes to follow dietary rules. Be sure your child doesn’t feel pressured to be too thin and that they understand proper nutrition and caloric intake is needed for optimal performance and endurance.
- Follow a warm-up routine: Be sure your child or his or her coach includes an active warm-up before every practice, game or meet. A slow jog reduces the risk of torn or ripped muscles.
- Eat healthy meals: Make sure your young athlete is eating a well-balanced diet and does not skip meals. Avoid high-fat foods, such as candy bars and fast food. Provide fruit rather than cookies and vegetables rather than potato chips.
- Drink water: Hydration is a key element to optimal fitness. Athletes should drink 1/2 to 1 ounce of water per pound of bodyweight per day (e.g., a 150-lb. person would consume 75 to 150 ounces of water). Caution should be exercised regarding too much water, especially in long distance running. Avoid sugar-loaded, caffeinated and carbonated drinks.
- Take multivitamins daily: A multivitamin and vitamin C are good choices for the young athlete. Vitamin B and amino acids may help reduce the pain from contact sports. Thiamine can also promote healing, and vitamin A can strengthen scar tissue. Avoid the use of performance-enhancing supplements like creatine.
- Get plenty of rest: Eight hours of sleep is ideal for the young athlete. Lack of sleep and rest can decrease performance. Sluggishness, irritability and loss of interest could indicate that your child is fatigued.
To speak with Dr. Michael Simone who can offer additional guidance on this topic, please contact Amanda Donohue at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-812-0209. To find a chiropractor near you, visit ACA's website.