The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

10 Ways to Help Kids Avoid Fall Sports Injuries

Posted by on Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

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Football, soccer, cheerleading and volleyball are in full swing this October. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were a number of fall sports injuries requiring emergency room visits last year. These serious injuries, among kids ages 5 to 18, included:

  • 881,700 football injuries
  • 434,000 soccer injuries
  • 99,884 cheerleading injuries
  • 94,400 volleyball injuries

Overuse injuries, in particular, are becoming all too common. In fact, Dr. Theodore Ganley, director of the Sports Medicine and Performance Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), says they have seen the number of ACL injuries go up 40% in recent years.

Fortunately, overuse injuries are some of the most preventable types of sports injuries as well. Here at our NYC sports medicine clinic, our board-certified podiatrists, physical therapists, trainers, and podiatric surgeons treat foot and ankle injuries among youth athletes, as well as professionals. While we make our bread and butter healing existing injuries, prevention is a big focus at our practice.

fall sports injuries
Volleyball injuries are all too common, say sports medicine doctors.
Image Source: Wikimedia.org

Is Fierce Competition Hurting Our Kids?

One of the problems we’re seeing with many young athletes these days is that coaches and parents place too much pressure on them to be “the best.” Many kids are training a grueling schedule and expected to be Olympian athletes or get a full scholarship ride. For many, that’s simply not realistic. Parents should be fostering love of physical activity and ensuring that their kids receive 10 consecutive weeks of rest from their sport of choice each year. Cross-training is a great way to prevent obsessive focus and overuse injury. It’s okay to thoroughly enjoy a sport, but no one wants ACL surgery before getting to college. Coaches should not pin the team’s success on a few “star” athletes, but rather alternate players fairly to give each person adequate rest. Athletes should be encouraged to speak up about pain and see a personal trainer or physical therapist to work through any issues. Each week, kids should have at least two days off from team sports.

How to Stay Safe This Fall

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends the following 10 tips for preventing fall sports injuries:

1. Get a physical exam at the start of the season. (It’s not too late to come into our office to have this done!)

2. Warm up and cool down with walking or cycling.

3. Stretch consistently — holding each stretch for a good 10 to 12 seconds.

4. Hydrate yourself to prevent severe muscle cramps.

5. Assess your play surface and make sure the ground is in good condition.

6. Listen to your body. Avoid playing through pain!

7. Play different sports during the off-season.

8. Pay attention to weather conditions that may cause injuries.

9. Resist the pressure to over-train, despite what the coach may ask of you.

10. Wear well-fitted protective gear like helmets, mouth guards, and cleats.

Where to Find Help Preventing Sports Injuries in NYC

For more information on preventing fall sports injuries, see what Dr. Ryan Minara from The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine had to say in a previous post. Athletes living in or near New York City are invited to stop by our state-of-the-art facilities to have a healthier season this year. We offer computerized gait analysis, platelet-rich plasma injections, shockwave therapy, and other innovative treatments used by professional athletes to return to the game quicker and stronger.

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If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.