Welcome back to the second half of our series on getting back-to-school ready – on the courts and fields and courses, that is! In part 1, we discussed how getting participation clearance from your child’s pediatrician or family practice physician is paramount in making sure that your student is healthy enough to participate in school sports. We also looked at the benefits of visiting with the school/team trainer about proper strengthening and training methods, as well as remembering to set realistic, attainable training goals for the pre-season.
Start early and set goals. Obviously, this holds true for everyone, regardless of age. The earlier you start preparing the easier your transition into the season will be. Thinking that you can “wing it” and simply jump in at the last minute can be a recipe for disaster. Make sure that you’re setting specific (and realistic) goals for each week during the off-season to ensure that you’re at your peak in terms of your own personal best. This means that, if you want to train for cross country, for example, come up with a plan for both daily and weekly running goals, increasing your distances slowly and steadily so as to not cause any sort of overuse injury that could potentially sideline you for the actual competitive season.
Before we go any further, let’s start with the basics – what is a concussion? According to the CDC, a concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that is caused by a blow to the head (or via a hit to the body) that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth. This type of fast movement can cause the brain to “bounce around” in the skull which, in turn, can create chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and damaging the brain cells.
Osgood-Schlatter Disease is very common in adolescents, especially during puberty and growth spurts. During these growth spurts, the rapid growth of the quadriceps and tibial tubercle-located on the Tibia (shinbone) and where the patella is connected—causes the patellar tendon to stretch. These rapid changes paired with the sports and activity levels of adolescents can lead to inflammation of growth plate, further pulling the lengthening of the patellar tendon.
Multiple studies published in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons highlighted key factors parents and coaches need to consider when addressing youth sports. These studies established two major takeaways that can’t be ignored: the frequency of certain injuries vary by sex and single-sport athletes are more susceptible to injury than their multi-sport peers.
Overuse injuries are common in track athletes of any sport, but especially athletes who engage in sports, or a particular sport, year-round. This is common in high school athletes who jump straight from one sport to another, as track practice usually begins a week after the conclusion of winter sports. The NSAA has rules requiring rest from back-to-back sports seasons, but one week is not always enough, even for the most gifted athletes. Plus, many athletes still train intensely in their own time during this required rest period.
This heat and humidity - which, often times, extends well into the spring and fall months, as well - is virtually inescapable. This, in turn, winds up leading to all sorts of heat-related issues for pretty much anyone who spends time outside engaged in physical activity (be it playing sports, gardening, or spending the day at the local Farmers Market), ranging from mild ailments such as cramping, to life-threatening events like heat stroke.
Summer is nearing the end, which means it’s time for school and fall sports to start up once again. Like every new season of sports, the fall brings an increased risk of injury when coming off of a break. According to Standard Children’s Health, about 30 million children and teens participate in some form of organized sports, and over 3.5 million injuries happen every year.