Tips for Avoiding Athletic Injury This Fall

Tips for Avoiding Athletic Injury This Fall

Fall sports are in full swing for schools all over the country, and people are moving in to the gyms to get into their fall fitness routines. Whether you’re attending games or hitting the gym, we’ve assembled some facts and tips to keep you informed and safer during this fall’s athletic activities so nobody needs to hear the word “suture.”

Facts and Tips for Kids’ Sports Safety

The Consumer Product Safety Commission’s 2013 statistics reported that:

  • In children ages five to 18 years of age, roughly 881,700 injuries were football related.
  • Close to 434,000 children received treatment for injuries on the soccer field.
  • Cheerleading injuries numbered 99,884.
  • There were over 94,000 injuries from volleyball.

It’s important for parents to know that the top injury in kids’ sports is that of overuse, though this type of injury is not well identified by youth, who subsequently don’t report pain to their parents or coaches. As such, these injuries can go undiagnosed for long periods of time, which can lead to more debilitating issues over time.

Tips for Safe Sports Participation

  • Get a regular physical prior to beginning fall sports and be sure to stick to any doctor recommendations.
  • Don’t skip warm ups or cool downs, like walking or cycling, and make stretching and strength training part of your routine. When stretching, hold for 10-12 seconds, but don’t push yourself past your point of resistance.
  • Hydration is key for preventing muscle cramps and promoting overall health. If you’re always thirsty before you reach for a drink of water, it usually means you aren’t properly hydrated.
  • Never embrace the mindset that pain is gain—playing through pain can be costly. Discuss any concerns with coaches, trainers, or a physician.
  • Make sure you are outfitted correctly with the gear required for safe play, and that all equipment fits well.  
    • Resist the temptation to over train. Alter any routines that create pain or physical discomfort.

    Injury Prevention Tips for Parents

    Many, if not all, of the above tips for your kids can be applied to your fitness routine. Here are a few more to keep you safe this fall.

    • Don’t let a new gym membership push you to run a marathon. Allow yourself to work up to harder routines by only increasing an activity or work out by 10 percent each week.
    • Keep your body healthy by balancing work outs to include areas like cardio, balance and flexibility, and strength.
    • Sign up for lessons for any sport or activity you are trying for the first time ever or the first time in a while. A professional will make sure you are performing movements safely and properly.
    • Pay attention to pain or muscle soreness that endures for more than a 48 hour timespan. If you feel an injury developing, or come on suddenly, stop the activity and apply ice immediately. Pain that persists after 48 ought to be discussed with a physician.   
    Keeping these tips in mind for fall sports and activities can help prevent injuries, from minor muscle pain to surgery and suture needs. Remember, the body is an amazing instrument and will perform well as long as it is treated right.

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    • Dr. Nate Whittaker, MD Emergency Medicine Specialist
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