FROM THE CAMBRIDGE HEALTH ALLIANCE:
April is National Youth Sports Month. With warmer weather on the way, it’s a great time to think about how our kids can prepare to play this season. Here are some helpful tips to keep kids on the field and set up a successful season.
Have a preseason physical with your family doctor. This will help to identify any possible concerns and address them before they pose a problem. Starting the season healthy will assure greater participation and success.
Be mentally ready. Make sure an athlete has interest in his/her sport and feels confident. A lack of focus or concentration increases risk of injury and puts the athlete in a vulnerable position.
Warm it up. Allow 15-20 minutes before practice and competitions to go through stretches and warm-up drills. A sport-specific routine that simulates required movements prepares the body for challenges and reduces common non-contact and overuse injuries.
Mix it up. Focusing too much on any one sport can lead to burnout, over training and overuse injuries. Work hard in your favorite sport, but try something different in the offseason. Most great athletes are talented at multiple sports and develop a versatile skill set. Think Tom Brady, a five-time super bowl champion, drafted by Major League Baseball’s Montreal Expos before playing football at Michigan.
Stay hydrated. Drink water frequently before, during and after competition. Avoid gulping down large portions all at once. Spacing out hydration provides a greater benefit particularly during hot weather conditions.
Keep your head in the game. Be mindful of any symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, nausea, and an inability to concentrate or remember the last scoring play. These could be serious signs of a concussion and should be immediately reported to the trainers and coaches. In many cases, rest is the best medicine and can help speed up return to play in the long run. Rest should be physical and mental, with school activities modified during recovery.
In case of emergency. Know what the emergency action plan is, including if there is an Automated External Defibrillator on site and where to find it. Athletic trainers are highly trained in on-field first aid, and it’s a good idea to have coaches and parent volunteers trained in CPR.
For more information, visit www.challiance.org.