How to reduce risk of injury in youth and teen athletes...
Neither athletes nor coaches want to see anyone sidelined with an injury. Although the nature of sports comes with an increased risk, some habits can also contribute to serious injury.
For many sports, once kids hit the tween to early teen years, we start to see a rise in injuries: concussions, tendon & ligament tears, and bone fractures and breaks.
Size and weight discrepancies can play a factor in these age groups. Unfortunately, size differences between players due to puberty working on its own schedule- not the calendar- aren't something we can change.
But, there are 3 ways we can reduce a young athlete's risk of injury...
1- Avoid the myth that kids can eat whatever they want because they’re burning it all off.
We aren't debating ”good” or “bad” foods- but rather the fact that, especially during a time when the body is developing, the nutrient density of foods is essential... not only for performance and intensity of practice, but the growth and development of bones, ligaments, tendons, muscles, the brain, and every system within the body.
When frequent consumption of artificial ingredients and nutrient-poor foods compromises physical development, the risk of injury increases exponentially.
2- Inconsistent sleep patterns.
Schedules are packed enough with sports, school, family, work, and friends. But continually short-changing essential sleep: whether to increase practice time, catch up on homework, or scroll social media, sacrifices the body's ability to repair, recover, and grow- making the body more susceptible to injury and making current injuries take longer to heal.
3- Year-round sports.
I know there's a mindset and pressure that if an 8, 9, or 10-year-old hasn’t specialized in one sport or isn’t playing year-round, they’re at a disadvantage for advancing their “career.”
Even for 13-year-olds, the intensity of year-round sports not only increases the risk of burnout but also increases the risk of injury. An adolescent athlete's joints are not physiologically stable enough to withstand the intensity of repetitive motion. And it can set up the body for compromising patterns, increasing the risk of tendon, ligament, and bone injuries and future injuries.
This is one area where "be like the pros" actually applies to youth and teen athletes... use the off-season to enjoy other hobbies and utilize different muscle groups to strengthen and support entire body development.
That's not to say completely avoiding a primary sport is necessary, but decreasing intensity in practice and competition benefits the body and mind.
Working through current injuries? Let's ensure you're fueling to best promote recovery.
Changing sports or activity levels also alter required nutrients; let's make sure athletes are meeting their nutritional needs.
Click here with questions or to schedule a call to see if Rock Performance is right for your athlete or family.