Back to School: How to Prevent Sports Injuries
Updated: Oct 16
Although “Back to School” in 2020 looks very different compared to previous years, with the adoption of the BC School Sports Return to Sport Plan we are welcoming our young athletes back to the gymnasiums and playing fields. After all, there is an abundance of research that supports the concept that participation in school sports aids in the development of healthy habits.
In addition to new Covid-19 safety protocols, there are numerous steps we can take to prevent children’s injuries from sporting activities. Usually, sports injuries occur for two different reasons: trauma and overuse. To help prevent your young athlete from experiencing a sport-related injury consider the following:
Simply put, use the recommended safety equipment, and learn how to fit the gear properly. Although quality protective gear may be expensive, money spent on proper equipment is money well spent. Consider purchasing second hand when possible, but make sure any pads, helmets, and masks are in good repair.
Remember to take care of feet! Shoes are universal, and they are one of the single most important component of any sports kit. Shoes should be replaced once they lose the non-slip ridges on their soles, or bits of rubber/fabric start flapping off the heel or toe. Footwear should also provide adequate shock absorption. For the prevention of running injuries, such as shin splints – if there is a cross-country component to your child’s fall school sports regimen, consider replacing running shoes every 3 or 4 months.
Building skill and strength before the start of the season will help to decrease the likelihood of a sports injury. Once the season begins, make sure your child learns proper form and technique from a qualified teacher, coach, trainer or physiotherapist. Remind your child to listen to their body and to avoid playing when tired or when in pain. Highly intensive training can lead to overuse injuries and burnout.
Although obvious, encourage your child to drink fluids. Dehydration is a risk when children play hard and overheat. Before, during and after activities is the perfect time to drink water.
RECOGNIZE INJURIES AND SEEK HELP EARLY
Should you notice a change in your child’s technique, such as limping, throwing differently or rubbing their leg during activity consider removing the child from play and seeking an assessment from a qualified professional.
Finally, if an injury does occur, you can’t ignore the importance of rehabilitation. Tissues need adequate time to heel – especially ligamentous and cartilaginous injuries of the knees and ankles. Our team at Advanced Physiotherapy can provide expert guidance on the rehabilitation of orthopedic and sports injuries.
For up to date information about COVID-19, how to protect yourself, your family and your community visit the BC Centre for Disease Control Website.