Over 30 million adolescents play sports in the U.S. alone. Sports are a great way for them to get out and exercise. However, many often injure themselves when playing. While an injury might not look too severe, it could be damaging to their growing body. This article will explore a handful of effective ways you can help adolescents prevent sports injuries.
The Most Common Sports Injuries in Boys
While boys can suffer from a variety of different athletic injuries, some of the most common are:
- Ankle sprains
- Little Leaguer’s elbow
- ACL tears
- Knee pain
- Shoulder dislocation
- Turf toe
Why is it Important to Protect Adolescents From These Injuries?
Unlike an adult athlete whose body is already grown, sports injuries can hurt an adolescent’s growth plates. If a growth plate is damaged during play, it will weaken the ligaments and muscles around the bone. If it doesn’t heal correctly, it could hinder how well the bone develops.
Types of Sports Injuries
There are two main types of sports injuries: acute traumatic and overuse.
Acute Traumatic Injury
An acute traumatic injury occurs after serious force has been applied to the body. They often result in broken bones, fractures, and concussions.
An overuse injury is when one pushes their body more than it can handle. Most of the time, if you use one part of your body more than another, it can wear that part down if you don’t take breaks. This is often common in sports like baseball, running, and tennis because they require you to mainly use specific body parts.
6 Ways to Prevent Sports Injuries in Boys
If an adolescent plays sports, they’re always susceptible to possibly being injured. However, there are a few ways they can better safeguard themselves from this.
1. Drink Plenty of Water
Many times sports injuries occur because the body is dehydrated. Not only will this make it harder for them to play, but it could lead to serious issues like dizziness, headaches, and fatigue. Because of this, it’s important that adolescents drink plenty of water before, during, and after their game.
On average, most adolescents should drink anywhere from 6-8 cups of water per day. While playing, they should consume at least 2 cups every 30 minutes. By doing so, it will not only keep them hydrated but prevent muscle cramps.
2. Encourage Them to Warm-Up and Stretch
One of the best ways to prevent sports injuries is to encourage warming up and stretches before playing. This will prepare their body for the work ahead and help get blood flowing. In addition to this, warm-ups and stretches will allow their body to be more flexible.
There are a few different types of stretches you can encourage them to try.
This stretch moves your hamstrings and hips. To do this stretch, stand sideways next to a chair and rest your left hand on it. Lift your right leg up, stretch it out in front of you, pull it back down, and then stretch it behind you.
- Heel-to-Rear Jog
The heel-to-rear jog is important to do if the young athlete plays sports like baseball, football, and soccer. This stretches the hamstrings and builds up leg muscles. To do it, simply stand with the best posture you can and run in place. As you do so, lift your feet up as high as you can so that they touch your rear. Continue this stretch for about a minute.
- Forward Lunges
Forward lunges strengthen lower body muscles, including in your back. To do it, slide your body down so it appears as if you’re kneeling on your left leg. As you do this, push your right leg in front of you at a 90-degree angle. Hold this position for about 10 seconds and then switch to your other leg.
3. Ensure They’re Wearing the Right Gear
Sometimes the wrong gear could be to blame for an injury. For instance, some boys might forgo wearing shoulder pads for football. While they might seem like a nuisance at first, they do a good job of preventing shoulder dislocations.
On the other hand, sometimes a young athlete might be wearing the wrong size gear. If the gear is the incorrect size, it’s almost pointless to wear it because it won’t protect their body.
Because of this, ensure that the equipment fits correctly. You also need to make sure to not skip out on seemingly small equipment pieces (like knee pads) because they can prevent many painful injuries.
4. Have Them Take Breaks
Many times boys try to overexert themselves when playing. However, this can be dangerous to their health. If they push their body too hard, it could lead to serious injuries, such as fractures and even dehydration. It’s crucial to have them know when to take breaks. This includes telling them to stop playing if they feel lightheaded, hot, or short of breath.
In addition to taking breaks when playing, you should also make sure they take breaks after games. You’ll find that even professional athletes rest their bodies for a day or two after a game. This gives their body time to recover and the ability to build up their muscles and ligaments. Otherwise, adolescents risk running into overuse injuries.
5. Feed Them a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet can play a huge role in preventing sports injuries in boys. By feeding them fruits, vegetables, and other nutritious items, it can better protect their skeletal system from injuries and give them more energy to play. Some to include are:
- Lean beef
On the other hand, if the young athlete is only consuming sugary drinks or foods high in fat and salt, it can make them feel very lethargic and more susceptible to injuries.
6. Try Chiropractic Care
You might be surprised to learn that chiropractic care can help stop sports injuries in adolescents. A chiropractor will do adjustments to release tension around muscles while also increasing their flexibility. A few also offer sports massage.
Many boys enjoy playing sports, but if they don’t take certain measures, they are at risk of getting sports injuries. By keeping the tips listed above in mind, you can help ensure they have fun safely playing their favorite sport.