5 Steps on How to Stay Safe When Returning to Sports Activities
School is starting back up soon, and that means kids will be returning to their school athletic programs. After enjoying the dog days of summer, many kids have likely lost some endurance and muscle strength. Considering this, they are more likely to attain injuries when they do return. In particular, if the sport begins with two-a-days or three-a-days, the risk for injury is greater.
Ensuring your kid can start back into their school activities without injury or other medical issues occurring, it is important to know the proper steps and precautions to take. Below are some good tips for your kids to stay safe when returning to sports activities.
1. Stay Hydrated
Dehydration can be a serious issue, especially during the typically hot month of August. In addition to simply being thirsty, dehydration can result in dizziness, muscle cramping, and heat exhaustion. Staying well hydrated during the day prior to sports practices, as well as during practices, is essential to preventing these medical issues from occurring.
2. Begin Training before Training Starts
Many high schools have open-gyms or weight-lifting programs throughout the summer time for kids to stay on top of their physical fitness when they are away from school. Encourage your kids to participate in these training opportunities, or seek out other training methods that are appropriate. For instance, if your child is a soccer player in the fall, encouraging them to begin a running program and maintain it throughout the summer will help to prevent muscle soreness and possible injuries to the lower extremities that are related to running (ligament sprain, muscle strains, tendinitis, etc). This will ensure a safe transition back into their preferred activity.
3. Properly Warm Up and Cool Down After Activity
At each practice your child participates in, the coach should be properly warming up their players. If not, have your child suggest this to the coach or do a warm-up at home before going to practice. A good warm up with active stretching of the upper extremities and lower extremities opposed to prolonged stretches is ideal. More passive, prolonged stretches are adequate during a cool down period after activity.
4. Share Emergency Medical Information with Coaches
If your child has a specific medical condition (i.e. heart condition, asthma, allergies) be sure to provide this information to their coach. If your child has a heart condition and needs more frequent rest breaks, but the coach is unaware and thinks your child is simply not hustling as much as the other kids, this is a problem. Always make their coaches aware to keep your child safe in any situation.
5. Help Ensure Your Child is Eating Nutritiously
Kids are notorious for wanting foods that are unhealthy for them (as are us adults much of the time!), but being proactive about their nutrition will help them perform better. Try to keep healthy snacks like fruits, veggies, and protein in your house and prepare meals that have some nutritional value so your kids are able to perform at the levels required of them. Nothing wrong with the occasional fast-food drive-thru or pizza, but don’t make this a nightly thing. Be proactive about getting some nutrition in those kid’s bellies!