As summer comes to a close, parents are scrambling to get kids ready to go back to school. From school supplies to new haircuts, there is an endless list of things to do to get prepared. But back to school also means the kickoff to a number of fall sports. When it comes to the health of your kids, preparing for back to school sports should be a top priority.
Orthopedic injuries can sideline student athletes before the season even gets underway. Many of these injuries can be avoided with the right preparation and attention to safety.
Whether your kids are in football, soccer, cross country or any other fall sport, there are a number of considerations to keep them safe. Check out this list of tips for health and safety as your kids anticipate gearing up for their favorite fall sport.
Tips for Getting Ready for Back to School Sports
- Research the best types of protective gear, footwear and padding. If your child is returning to a sport, don’t assume last year’s gear is enough to keep them safe. Gear that is worn out, damaged or too small will not necessarily be effective in protecting them. If your child is starting a new sport, check with your coaches on the best equipment for the specific sport and ensure that you have everything you need before the first practice.
- Send your kids to games and practice fully hydrated and fueled up with nutrient rich foods. It is also important to keep them hydrated during and after activity. Water and fluids containing electrolytes are important for maintaining optimal fluid balance for performance. Proper hydration and nutrition can also help to prevent orthopedic injuries.
- Make sure your athlete is healthy and ready to start up a sport. Whether or not your athlete has suffered from a previous injury, it is a good idea to get a clean bill of health before starting a sport. In cases where a individual has recovered from an injury, it is especially important to be sure that a doctor such as an orthopedic surgeon has given them the go ahead to start the season.
- Remind your children to listen to their bodies and speak up if they sustain an injury. Getting back into a favorite sport or starting something new can be exciting and challenging. Suffering from an injury early on can be devastating and kids may be more hesitant to report an issue from fear of missing out on the rest of the season. Make sure to observe your kids and encourage them to alert a coach or trainer if something is not right. Treating an orthopedic injury sooner than later can prevent more serious issues from developing over time.
- Find out if your child’s school has trainers or other medical staff on hand for games and practices. As a parent, you want to trust that the coaches and staff working with your kids are looking out for their best interests. But school coaches are not medical professionals. It is important to be informed about who is available to examine and/or treat your child if an injury occurs at a game or practice.
Back to school sports can be the most exciting part of the fall season. Kids and parents are eager to get back into their favorite sport. But a season ending injury can really put a damper on things. Avoiding an injury or issue is much easier than treating one so make sure to be proactive this fall.