Tips for Keeping Young Athletes Safe04/01/11
FRIDAY, April 1 (HealthDay News) -- It's important to keep
injury prevention in mind as children begin spring sports
activities, says Dr. Steven Greer, of the MCGHealth Sports Medicine
Center in Augusta, Ga.
He offers these tips for parents and children.
All children should undergo a physical examination before they
participate in sports programs. If they've been inactive for an
extended period of time, they should begin increasing their
activity level several weeks before they start team practices or
Hydration is crucial. Children should drink 16 ounces of water
or a sports drink one to two hours before play, another 7 to 10
ounces about 10 to 20 minutes before play, and 6 to 8 ounces every
20 or 30 minutes during play, Greer advises.
Before a practice or game, children should warm up with light
exercise for 5 to 10 minutes and then stretch. They should hold
stretches for at least 20 seconds and preferably 30 seconds.
Baseball, tennis, volleyball and certain other sports often
require repetitive movements that can strain or tear muscles and
tendons. Exercises that specifically target these areas can help
reduce the risk of injury, Greer says.
Appropriate, properly fitted safety gear is necessary. Children
who play sports that require a lot of running need well-cushioned
shoes that aid balance. A specialty fitness store can help.
Young athletes should eat breakfast every day and not skip
meals. But eating too soon before a workout or game can cause
digestive discomfort. Meals are best eaten about three to four
hours before exercise, while small snacks, such as a banana, can be
consumed an hour to two before exercise, according to Greer.
The Nemours Foundation has more about
preventing children's sports injuries.
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