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Spring Sports are Coming – Let’s Prevent Sports Injuries in Young Athletes

Scerbo Physical Therapy > Physical Therapy > Spring Sports are Coming – Let’s Prevent Sports Injuries in Young Athletes

By Dr. Frankie Goris, PT, DPT, CSCS

Baseball, softball, soccer, tennis – the list of Spring season sports goes on, with opportunities for kids to get fresh air and exercise, practice teamwork, and learn new skills. But because children’s bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments are still growing, they are more susceptible to injury.

Young people are also more likely to think themselves invincible and less likely to pay attention when their body signals that something is wrong. And although youth sports should always be fun, too often a “must-win” attitude fostered by some adults and peers can cause an athlete to feel pressured to continue to play with pain.
Unfortunately, some childhood injuries can do long-term damage. What might be a twist or sprain for an adult could result in a more serious growth plate fracture in a young athlete. Growth plate injuries have the potential to disrupt the normal growth of bone.

In addition, many young athletes may have had a long layoff in their sports activities due to Covid restrictions, while their bodies have been growing and changing during that time. Overall physical fitness may have declined. It’s essential to prepare the young athlete’s muscles, joints, and mind for the new stress and challenges of active sports.

This is where we can help. Many youth sports injuries can be prevented. Some of the more effective ways to prevent these injuries include age-specific coaching, appropriate physical conditioning, and proper use of equipment. It’s also helpful to play a few different sports rather than just one, to reduce the chances that any one part of the body will be overstressed and possibly injured.

At Scerbo Physical Therapy and Sports Rehabilitation, our physical therapists are specialists in training and maintaining fitness-for-sport in the young athlete. Typically, an individualized Strength and Conditioning program helps the athlete learn to:

• Develop physical literacy in learning and understanding the importance of a continuous quality-based physical education and engaging in moderate to vigorous exercise programs.
• Maintain and provide a positive mental and psychosocial outlook on their image of self and physical development as they age through a strength and condition resistance program.
• Participate in a strength and conditioning program with a certified strength and condition specialist, Sports Physical Therapist, or athletic trainer who is able to provide the coaching and guidance to ensure optimal youth development and performance in their respective sport.

Corrective exercises consist of a wide range and threshold of exercise correction with the intention to maintain optimal joint mechanics throughout exercise movements, as well as throughout dynamic training activities. These corrective techniques better allow for optimal muscle growth and development as well as reduce the risk for injury while engaging in physical activity and translating to injury reduction while engaging in the sport.

Sport-specific movement training should be coordinated within a specific phase of youth strength and conditioning programs and incorporate game-like positions, movements, and exercises. Sport-specific movement training aims to ensure the proper preparation of these movements and can optimize the execution within a game or practice. The repeated and controlled exposure of these movements and positions to youth athletes can better ensure they have the flexibility, strength, and muscular control to safely perform these movements, reducing the risk of injury.

Older adults are not the only ones likely to be injured by falls. Youthful athletes are subject to falls if their bodies are off-balance. At Scerbo, our Biodex Fall Risk Screening & Conditioning Program can identify potential risk factors in just two minutes. Since loss of balance often follows a concussion injury, assessment of balance is an important part of any concussion management program. Those identified can be entered into the Conditioning Program to reduce their risk of falls.

For young athletes who do get injured, avoiding re-injury is critical. Scerbo therapists specialize in treating injuries with our comprehensive Sports Rehabilitation program. We know how eager the young athlete may be to get back out there, but rushing the rehab process is always a mistake as it may lead to further injury. Our Injury Risk & Concussion Management system helps manage specific sports injuries and determine when it’s safe to return to play.

Parents, don’t wait for an injury to happen. It’s not to early to help your young athlete strengthen and condition under the guidance of a Scerbo therapist. Contact us today, at 201-941-2240. We look forward to serving you!

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