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Every year, over 30 million children and adolescents participate in youth sports. With more participation in athletics comes a higher rate of sport-related injuries. According to the Center for Disease Control, there are around two million occurrences of injuries each year. Nearly 500,000 of these injuries require medical attention, and around 30,000 of them lead to hospitalization. These injuries normally consist of sprains, strains, fractures, overuse injuries and ligament or muscle tears.
What is good news for parents and coaches? The majority of these injuries are preventable.
The key to preventing these injuries is to have a proper training program that revolves around making a well-rounded athlete. The basis of this type of program should focus on mobility, strength and recovery. Programs like the Youth Sports Performance classes at OrthoCarolina's Sports Training Center incorporate all these components to best suit individuals, team and age groups.
With more children and adolescents committing their time to just one sport, it leaves them more susceptible to injuries. They become accustomed to the same movements, and when they change their routine, their bodies cannot compensate to prevent the injury.
Mobility is key to preventing strains and ligament tears. A dynamic warm-up, self-myofascial release routine (i.e. foam rolling), and consistent stretching are critical to an athlete’s mobility and recovery. The more mobile and flexible an athlete is, the less likely an injury will occur.
RELATED: How to Properly Foam Roll
Overall strength is also critical to the safety of all athletes. Many injuries, such as ACL tears, occur because of weak hamstrings, weak glutes/hips and a weak core. Consistent hip and glute activation and strengthening through the use of mini bands and glute exercises should be a high priority. Strengthening the posterior chain through exercises such as RDL’s, Nordic hamstring curls and reverse hyperextensions can greatly reduce the risk of pulled and strained muscles as well as back and knee injuries.
As mentioned before, myofascial release through foam rolling and stretching are critical to recovery, but less talked about is a healthy diet and sleep regimen which is just as important. Many people associate injuries with a one-time mistake or incident, but lack of sleep and a poor diet may also contribute to injury.
Learning to be a well-rounded athlete through gaining mobility, strength, and proper recovery will ultimately keep our children and adolescent athletes healthy and in the game!
- Learn more about team and individual training at the OrthoCarolina Sports Training Center to maximize performance and prevent injury.
- Bored with your regular gym routine? Our adult classes offer variety and feed off your competitive edge.
- You may be used to seeing physical performance testing at the NFL combine but we're using it to help everyone from high-level athletes to the recovering weekend warrior.
Advanced Solutions International, Inc. (n.d.). Youth Sports Injuries Statistics. Retrieved from https://www.stopsportsinjuries | Sports Safety | Child Safety and Injury Prevention| CDC Injury Center. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/safechild/ | Zakaria, A. A., Kiningham, R. B., & Sen, A. (2015). Effects of Static and Dynamic Stretching on Injury Prevention in High School Soccer Athletes: A Randomized Trial. Journal of Sport Rehabilitation, 24(3), 229–235. https://doi-org.bigbrother.logan.edu:2443/10.1123/jsr.2013-0114