Thursday, June 13, 2024

ADVERTISING: Advertorial — Preparing your child for spring sports

As spring begins, now is the perfect time to think about the spring sports season. According to the National Institutes of Health, both amateur and professional athletes of any age should start their sports conditioning at least four weeks before the season begins to prevent injuries. By doing so, athletes will be less prone to some of the most common sports injuries, such as tears and sprains. However, there are many other ways to guard against unwanted knee, ankle and hip injuries sustained during practice or competitive play.

One important way to prevent injuries in children is by increasing the monitoring of children by coaches, parents and school officials. Children who participate in organized sports should play in programs that have coaches who are properly trained in sports injury prevention. Additionally, all sporting programs, whether run through a school or community club, should have an injury-action plan that outlines how to respond to and treat common injuries.

The National Institutes of Health also recommends that parents monitor their children's warm-up and cool-down sessions. Warm-up regimens should focus on flexibility and muscle preparation, while cool-down exercises tend to loosen tight muscles. Some sports medicine experts also suggest using stretches in the cool down to increase blood flow to the muscles and ease the strain placed on the joints.

Before the sports season begins, children should have properly fitting equipment, including headgear. This is especially important for those who play high-contact sports where concussions are more likely to occur. With ACL injuries increasing among people under the age of 18, it is also important for children to get as much physical activity as they can during the offseason through "free play." As reported in the New York Times, many doctors have recently speculated that children are damaging their ACLs because they are playing too many organized sports at an intense level. Sports medicine specialists suggest that children should strengthen their leg muscles through other physical activities, such as jumping rope or playing hopscotch.

For the older athlete, when preparing for the upcoming sports season, they should determine their physical limits and modify moves when necessary. The National Institutes of Health warns against being a "weekend warrior," or cramming too much physical activity into a short timeframe. Adult athletes should also make sure that they are using proper technique when playing their sport of choice. Conditioning in the weeks leading up to the season should focus on form just as much as muscle strength and agility. Additionally, adults need warm-up and cool-down sessions before all physical activity, not just vigorous ones.

"The largest contributing factor to adult sports injuries is that adults may not be as agile and resilient as they were when they were younger," said David Carfagno of the American Osteopathic Association. "Injuries can also occur when a person moves from an inactive to a more active lifestyle too quickly.” During the preseason, gradually increasing workouts to prevent overexertion of unused muscles and joints is recommended for adult athletes. Cross-training exercises can also guard against injury while providing a full-body workout.

At Natural Spine Solutions, we have more than 18 years of experience working with athletes, especially children and enjoy helping any child or adult achieve their goals, as well as prevent future injuries. Give our office a call at 208-966-4425 to schedule a consultation today.

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Dr. Wayne M. Fichter Jr. is a chiropractor at Natural Spine Solutions. The business is located at 3913 Schreiber Way in Coeur d’Alene.