Nearly 30 million kids and teens in the U.S. participate in sports each year. While they are getting all the benefits of recreational activity, unfortunately, there’s some grim statistics associated with the number involved in sports related injuries.

Research shows more than 3.5 million kids are involved in sports related injuries each year. Over 700,000 children are treated in emergency rooms across the country from falls, collisions with other players, overexertion, or getting struck by an object while participating in a variety of sports. Approximately 21% of traumatic brain injuries in children stem from injuries involving bicycling, skateboarding, or skating.

While it’s true that every sport has the potential for injury, it’s important to know just how to prevent sports-related injuries in children. Since kids can be less coordinated, and have slower reaction times than adults while they are growing and developing – we’ve come up with our five most effective ways to prevent sports related injuries in children:

Start with Proper Nutrition and Hydration
Children may think they are invincible, but without proper nutrition and hydration, they’ll be limper than a balloon on the sports field. Make sure your child gets at least 8 10-ounce glasses of water per day, eats a good breakfast, followed by a healthy meal two to three hours before practice or a game. Continue with some fuel afterwards too.

Be Sure to Warm Up and Cool Down
Young athletes especially need to properly warm their muscles before any sports activity, which will result in less injuries. Kids need to stretch after their activities too to increase flexibility and mobility — also important factors for preventing injury.

Proper Sports Training & Gear
This may seem obvious, but kids need to have the right protective gear and know the rules of the game. You’ll see less injuries when kids know what to expect, what moves are legal, and where they need to be during the game so they aren’t flailing around like a car driving aimlessly down a street and disregarding basic traffic rules. Fewer crashes, er, injuries will occur as a result.

Don’t Play When Injured
Too often kids are encouraged to play through the pain, or they feel pressured to be there for their team – despite the pain. Make sure your kids know how important it is to take a break and treat their pain with rest, ice, compression, and elevation when they are injured. Putting any additional strain can cause further injury to a tendon, muscle, or joint. Like they say, “When in doubt, sit them out.”

Visit a Professional
If your child is experiencing pain during or after their sports activity, noticing any new swelling around a joint, painful pops in their body, or pain that doesn’t go away after resting, it’s time to visit a professional.

Chiropractors are trained professionals who can help youth prevent sports related injuries by focusing on your child’s spinal structure and nervous system, especially as they grow and develop. If the unexpected happens and your child gets hurt playing sports, Dr. Knight can help.

Dr. Knight at True North Chiropractic will assess your child’s body and give specific instructions tailored for your child’s sports to help prevent or treat any sports related injury. Call 801-447-1647 today for an appointment.