5 Tips to help prevent youth sports injuries
1. Get your physical before the season starts.
Getting a sports physical done before starting vigorous training allows a medical professional to determine if an athlete is fit to start a sport. Areas of concern can be assessed and treated ahead of time before further injury occurs. St. James Urgent Care offers sports physicians seven days a week—from Monday through Friday 8am to 8pm and on weekends from 9am to 5pm.
2. Do a change-up.
As competition teams become more popular, kids are beginning to play the same sport year-round. It is very important for young athletes to change it up as far as sports go to avoid stress on the same muscles and joints. Switching sports during different seasons makes it less likely for an overuse injury to occur
3. Warm up and stretch.
Muscles need to be eased in to full play. It’s important that athletes warm-up and stretch before beginning a vigorous activity or playing a sport. We recommend a combination approach to stretching that includes both static stretches—such as hamstring stretches—and some dynamic activities such as jogging in place.
4. Rest is always best.
Resting between practices and games is extremely important for young athletes. Sleep deprivation and muscle fatigue make us more susceptible to injuries. Overuse injuries are extremely common in youth. Young athletes need off-seasons and time to recoup in between sports.
5. Don’t wait if something feels off.
Some athletes may be taught to be tough and “push through the pain,” but this mindset can cause more damage if there is a problem. An injured athlete may also compensate by changing movements to avoid pain which can cause even more problems. A Physician or Physical Therapist can assess issues in athletes and often treat problems before they progress and require surgery.
If your child experiences persistent pain during or after sports, persistent or new swelling around a joint, reoccurring or new instability, painful “pops” or pain that does not improve with rest, it is time to see a healthcare provider. The Physical Therapists at St. James Parish Hospital Therapy Center specialize in assessing and treating athletes of all ages. To schedule an assessment call 225.258.5934. After-hours appointments are available to accommodate school athletes.
St. James Parish Hospital welcomed Todd Lambert in 2019 as its Orthopedic Program Director. His background as a lifelong athlete and previous experience at an orthopedic clinic greatly benefits local patients. He is skilled in treating knee and hip replacements, ACL and meniscus repairs, rotator cuff repairs and shoulder replacements. He is also a leader in the hospital’s Joint Program.