Is your child prepared for the upcoming sports season?
Before hitting the field, gym or rink, here are some things you can do to make sure your child is ready to play safely.
“Getting a pre-season physical exam for your child is crucial,” says Dr. Sarah Lehnert, sports medicine specialist at Fairview Sports and Orthopedic Care. “A sports physical or well-child check-up will identify any underlying health issues.” The physical will uncover deficiencies in strength, balance and joint mobility, which can lead to injury.
Encourage your kid to cross-train
Before your child’s sports season starts, get them training and participating in activities so they start the season in good physical condition.
If your child focuses on one sport, encourage participation in other sports and activities to help prevent overuse injuries. Our athletic trainers can help guide you to activities that will complement your child’s main sport and not interfere with the techniques and good form they’ve established.
Your child should be drinking fluids—water or sports drinks—before, during and after a game or practice. Children younger than 10 years of age should drink to satisfy thirst, plus 3-4 ounces prior to their activity; children over the age of 10 should drink to satisfy thirst, plus 8 ounces prior to their activity. Avoid beverages with excessive caffeine as it drains fluids from the body.
Use proper technique
Ensure your child understands proper techniques and uses them consistently. For example, if your child is playing basketball, make sure he understands proper shooting techniques to minimize wrist and arm injuries.
Maintain your kid’s equipment
Ensure your child has the proper equipment for their sport and that it is kept in good condition. Check every year that the equipment fits correctly as your child may have grown.
Ensure your child is getting enough sleep to give their body the time it needs to naturally heal itself. Children aged seven through 12 should get at least 10 to 11 hours of sleep each night; children aged 12 through 18 should get at least eight to nine hours of sleep each night.
When should you seek medical care?
Seek immediate medical care if:
• You suspect your child has a concussion or head injury
• Your child shows signs and symptoms related to heat illness, including confusion, dizziness, fatigue, headache, nausea, weakness and vomiting
• Your child can’t walk, has a severe limp or significant swelling
For other sports-related injuries, you can start with self-care treatments such as RICE—Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevate.
Rest – Your child should rest until he or she feels fully recovered and painful symptoms are gone.
Ice – For the first 48 hours, ice the injury for 20 minutes at a time every three to four hours, which will help to reduce inflammation.
Compression – An elastic bandage should be applied to the injury so it is snug but not cutting off circulation. This will help reduce the swelling.
Elevate – Elevate the injured area above your child’s head, if possible.
If your child’s condition does not improve within 48 hours using self-care techniques, then seek medical attention.
At Fairview Sports and Orthopedic Care, our sports medicine specialists will not only treat your child’s unique injury, they will coordinate and manage each step of the care process. Request an appointment online or call 612-672-7100.