As someone with a passion for sports, it’s refreshing to see youth sports becoming more and more competitive. Youth sports are much more aggressive than they used to be, kids are motivated to throw harder and shoot better. A child can learn an abundance of skills, however, along with increased participation comes increased injury.
Over use is a huge cause of injuries in youth sports. Sport specialization is when an athlete concentrates all their energy into one sport, by doing so, injuries of over use increase. This is especially true in young athletes. The repetitive motions add up over time which creates stress on developing joints, tendons, ligaments and muscles. Injuries due to over use are not necessarily immediately noticeable. Often they can have a gradual onset or appear in the late teens or early 20s.
Parents do not think about the long term affect this has on their child’s central nervous system (CNS) function, including increased spasticity to some muscles and laxity to other unused muscles. Efferent and afferent information from the nervous system is often impaired when injuries occur leading to increased dysfunction.
Here are a few things to prevent over use injuries in young and developing youth:
Cross train: Focus on over all fitness, not just motions that are key to the sport of choice. Encourage other physical activities, this will also help them develop by getting them outside their comfort zone.
Leave time for rest: Multiple games/competitions in the same day or consecutively over multiple days can be exhausting. The workload to recovery time ratio becomes too high leaving no time for the body to rest.
SEE A CHIROPRACTOR: Have the young athlete regularly checked by a chiropractor. This will help catch any developing conditions early enough to treat the cause. Chiropractors can also develop personalized preventative actions that can be taken to protect the body.