Summer spells release after a long winter. People are more active and want to live and play outside as much as possible. This eagerness often results in jumping back into sports and athletics in full swing, without taking the time to redress the de-conditioning of winter. This behavior seasonally results in higher numbers of summer sports injuries.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), nearly 2 million people every year suffer sports-related injuries. HHS data shows that the sports with the highest number of injuries are:
- Baseball and softball
Sprains, strains, tears, Plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, stress fractures and pulled muscles also occur in higher frequency. Injury occurs when excessive stress is placed on out-of-condition tendons, joints, bones, and muscles, through chronic overuse and traumatic re-injuries.
STOP Sports Injuries Campaign
The STOP (Sports Trauma and Overuse Prevention) Sports Injuries Campaign is the brainchild of Dr. James Andrews working with a network of organizations and corporations.
The goal of the campaign is to help prevent athletic overuse and trauma injuries in children. They raise awareness of sports injuries in athletes, parents, and coaches. They educate them on injury reduction and prevention.
STOP Summer Sports Injuries
Proper Hydration & Nutrition – are essential to keep muscles working efficiently. Dehydrated muscles can cause secondary issues like cramps or pulled muscles. Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after exercise or play.
Water keeps our body temperature normal and is best, while sports drinks are high in sugar. For activities longer than 45 minutes to an hour, a sports drink with electrolytes or carb replacement can be alternated with water.
On hot days, sports practice and outdoor games should be shortened and more frequent water breaks scheduled.
If a newbie, take some instruction from a trained professional, a sporty friend, or self-help books and videos to learn the proper technique. Whatever the sport, bad technique can cause problems from acute and chronic injuries. Acquire training and increase time and intensity gradually. Exercise regularly, take breaks and take time to warm-up and cool-down.
Find a Workout Buddy
A companion makes the sport or activity more fun. More importantly, they will look out for you, keep you safe and help in case of problems.
The Proper Equipment
It is essential to wear protective gear appropriate to the activity. Helmets, gloves, proper shoes with arch and heel support, pads, mouthpieces, face guards, cups, and eyewear prevent injury, especially with children. Clothing should be light-colored, lightweight, single-layered, and absorbent to facilitate evaporation of sweat.
Being mindful of where and how you are will keep you safe, especially with a new activity. Be prepared, and listen to your body. Do not play through pain. Know when to rest or stop.
If running, change the surface. Don’t always run on the road. Run on the sidewalk, track or trail. Find different paths with curves or hills.
Be wary of changing grips in golf or tennis. Look out for side effects and stop or change where necessary.
Seek medical attention immediately when injured, stay off the field, recover completely and then get back into activity.
A full body strength-training program for a strong core (abdominals and lower back) is very helpful. Functional type movements such as squats, lunges, pushing, pulling and core exercises should accompany this. These should be done at least two days a week to help prevent sports-related injuries.
Build the target muscles for the specific sport or activity. Conditioning exercises improve performance and prevent injury. Stretching exercises should be incorporated into a daily fitness plan, before and after games or practice to increase flexibility. This will loosen muscles, joints, and ligaments, as well as help, prevent activity-based injuries.
Know and follow all the rules, especially for contact sports such as headfirst sliding in baseball and softball, spearing in football, and checking in hockey.
A responsible adult should supervise children on a trampoline, one child at a time.
Dedicated adult supervision at all times is of paramount importance for water sports. Don’t dive into shallow pools or unknown water. All pool drains should have covers.
Observe sun safety. Cover up, use hats, sunglasses and SPF-rated clothing. Stay in the shade and limit sun exposure during peak-intensity hours (between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.).
Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or greater with UVB and UVA protection on both sunny and cloudy days. Reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating.
Especially near water and sand as they reflect UV rays.
Take 1 day a week, and 1 month a year off from sports training to allow your body to recover. Take restorative breaks and rest periods to help you recharge during practice and games.
If you are looking for excellent, compassionate, comprehensive pediatric care for your sports or athletic star, please contact your preferred CHC location in either Newburyport (978) 388-9880) or Haverhill (978) 373-6557), or request a consultation online.