Participation in sports provides countless benefits to children. “From
teaching activities that can contribute to a more active lifestyle later
in life, to teaching appropriate social interaction that will guide them
in relationships well into adulthood, sports can be an integral part of
a child’s development,” says Marcus Osborne, CVMC’s
Sports Medicine and
Fitness Center Director. “Being mindful of the tips listed below can help parents
navigate in and out of sport’s seasons in a way that positions their
children to succeed while reducing the risk of injury.”
Know the sport: What equipment is required? What abilities are required to fully participate
in the sport? What are the rules? This information will help a parent
explain expectations to their child, but also better assess the structure
of games and practices. Sometimes a child that is new to a sport will
not know to ask questions about certain drills or how teammates treat
each other. Educated parents are better able to speak-up for their child,
as well as provide the encouragement needed for their child to excel at a sport.
Have a pre-season: Just like collegiate and professional sports, it’s important to
begin some light activity leading up to the start of the sport season.
This activity doesn’t have to be formally structured, but should
include movements similar to the upcoming sport. The child’s joints
and muscles will be better prepared for a fuller range of motion, and
the heart and lungs will be in better condition for the transition into
regular practices and games he will likely see once the season begins.
Take an off-season: Once the season is done, encourage your child to play a different sport
or take a season off from competitive sports. Research shows athletes
that play multiple sports develop better overall coordination and avoid
common overuse injuries seen with year-round play of specific sports.
Make sure equipment fits properly: If a sport requires certain equipment, how that equipment fits its essential
to success in the sport. Whether it’s shoes, a glove, a bat, a racket
or a mask, a proper fit is an easy way to avoid injuries. Consult with
a coach or a veteran player to know what options are available for different
sizes or styles.
Good fuel: The body must have good fuel to perform. Make sure your child is eating
a balanced diet that provides the nutrients needed to recover in between
bouts of exercise. If unsure about your child’s specific needs,
consult with a registered dietician. Also, be sure your child is drinking
enough water. With the body being 75% water, proper hydration is essential
for the body to perform at its best.
Know who is taking care of your child: Sports, by their nature, will have some risk of injury associated with
them. Know what sports medicine resources are available to your child’s
team. Is there a certified athletic trainer that works with the team?
These professionals are trained to deal with athletic injuries, as they
occur, onsite. If an athletic trainer is not available what medical training
has the coach received, or is there another parent that has some medical
training to assist the team. These questions are best discussed before
the season begins. After an injury occurs, is usually the worst time to
try and track down assistance.
CVMC provides certified athletic trainers to Bandys, Bunker Hill, Maiden,
Newton-Conover, and St. Stephens High Schools, as well as CVCC. For more
information about protecting your athletes, contact Marcus Osborne, Director
Sports Medicine and
Fitness Center, at 828.326.2272.