Young athletes tend to think they’re invincible — until an injury strikes. The truth is that injuries can happen to any athlete, regardless of age or skill level. As a parent, there are things you can do to help your teen avoid injury so they can stay in the game, not sit on the sidelines.
With two-a-day trainings and intense workouts, it’s important for young athletes — and their parents — to recognize when post-training soreness is more than just muscle fatigue.
Ways to help your athlete at home
Most students are in a growing phase and as a result, can’t move well. This awkward phase — being lanky and tall — can often translate to clumsiness on and off the field, which makes it important to focus on enhancing your motor skills in order to prevent injury.
Parents, you can help by making sure your kids are continuing a comprehensive stretching routine at home.
Fusionetics is an easy-to-use integrated sports science app that we use to track a patient’s personalized self-care plan. In addition to tracking your routine, make sure you keep the right equipment around, like a stability ball and foam roller, to help with stretching and in turn, injury prevention.
It’s important to fire the right muscles, focusing primarily on balance and stability, which can be major problem areas during a growing phase. Get a foam roller and roll out hamstrings or any other muscle that feels too tight. Another common problem area associated with hip stability strength is the gluteus maximus and medius. Work your major hip muscles with bridges, single leg balances or step-ups on the staircase.
When to seek help for a sports injury
If your young athlete is continuing this self-care routine and still having issues — pain and continued tightness — it’s important to go see a doctor.
Teenagers may think they’re invincible, but a hurt player isn’t a successful player, and playing through the pain will likely make it worse.
Keep in mind that single-sport athletes have a higher incidence of injury since they are continuously focusing on the same muscles. Constant muscle repetition, like kicking a soccer ball on the same dominant foot, can create muscle imbalances.
Keeping in constant communication with your child’s coaches is important, too. It’s difficult for a coach to differentiate a student athlete simply being pushed to his or her capacity, versus a larger health problem. Keep an eye on your child at practice, and help them know it’s okay to speak up if they’re worried about their health.
Bottom line: Listen to the warning signs, no matter how big or small, and address any issues right away to avoid injury.
Learn more about Baylor Scott & White Sports Therapy & Research at The Star.