Close to fifty million American children, participate in sports each year. The number of young athletes varies from region to region and by gender. Boys are more likely to have an active sports orientation than girls are. One of three children who play is injured seriously enough to miss games. An interesting figure in the injuries is that 62% of all injuries occur in training rather than during games. The implication is that it is relatively easy to control the injury rates by controlling the training environments to reduce the incidence of training ground injuries. While it is impossible to eliminate the incidence of injuries, reduction of the injuries is possible of the coaches, the athletes and the parents take safety measures.
Preparation before the commencement of sporting activity is a good way of avoiding injuries. The preparation process is short and involves the help and active participation of a medical practitioner (Myer et al., 2012). The same procedures have to be repeated for all athletes before they enter into a sports program. Among the most important considerations in the process of medical preparation is the determination of the medical history of the applicants and the examination for physical anomalies that may increase the risks of injury. The process of preparation should also include a form of indication that prepares the athletes for the potential injuries and the avocation of proper safety standards in all training.
In the field, tense muscles are among the biggest causes of injury. The tense muscles cause movement problems and may result in injuries if the athlete moves too fast (Gronhaug & Norberg, 2016). For this reason, warm up and stretching should be a mandatory part of the preparation. The warm up typically consists of a few minutes jogging and other light activities to release the tension in the muscles. In addition, the athletes need to stretch all the major muscles and hold the stretching positions for 20-30 minutes to ensure that they are prepared for the sporting activities (Gronhaug & Norberg, 2016). Before the commencement of a sporting activity, or even before the start of training, a coach should ensure that all athletes take part in the warm ups.
Medical problems are a form of injury; dehydration is among the most common medical problems affecting athletes (Lauersen et al., 2013). To avoid dehydration, all athletes need to drink fluids twenty minutes before the start of a sporting activity and in 15 minutes duration once the activity starts. The coaches should never wait for the athletes to ask for water. Instead, they need to observe the needs of the athletes and provide the water even before the athletes have asked (Lauersen et al., 2013). Dehydration can result in further medical problems and the slow performance of the athlete. It is important to consider the potential development of concussions in sport. Due to the occasional head trauma, sometimes on matches and mostly in training, the trainers need to take additional attention in the event that the head is involved (Engebretsen et al., 2014). Testing for concussions helps to treat the problem and prevent further damage because the immobility caused by the head trauma can easily cause more damage.
Some sports are violent. The athletes need protection in such sports to ensure they are properly protected and they can proceed with little concern (Malisoux et al., 2013). For example, hockey and American football are contact sports where the contact, due to the speed of movement and the aggression of the opposition, has the potential to cause physical damage on the participants. In these sports, the athletes are required to wear appropriate sports gear. For example, the heads of the athletes are always covered when a game is in progress in American football (Malisoux et al., 2013). In training, it is easy to forego the dressing because of the perceived ease of play and the irrelevance of the dressing. While this may be true where there is no competition, there are high chances of aggression with the progression of the game due to the competitive nature of most athletes. For this reason, all coaches need to ensure that the participants in the sporting events are properly dressed before they take to the field, regardless of the nature of the game.
Muscle injuries are very common in athletes. In addition, there are big differences between children and adults because unlike the adults, the children are still in the process of development and their joints may not take as much pressure (Paterno et al., 2013). The bones are also sometimes weaker because of the ongoing development process. On the good side, the ongoing development means that the recovery process is much faster for the young athletes (Paterno et al., 2013). Unfortunately, it also means that the age affects the chances of getting an injury and there is additional need to protect the children from over exposure. For this reason, it is important that the coaches rest the young athletes in games and between games. For example, if the athletes are required to play three games in a week, the coaches can rotate their squads so that the athletes each play two games (Paterno et al., 2013). The man-management part of the injury prevention is very important in the advanced levels of the game because in some cases, it reduces the chances of injury during a match.
The most important part of preventing injuries takes place before games. In the prevention phase, the training facilities have safety measures and rules. In contact sports such as soccer, once the games begin, it is difficult to protect the athletes because tackles, a part of the game, increase the chances of bone injury (Steffen et al., 2013). Competition and the intensity of the games also increase the chances of muscle injury. While the rules of the game sometimes protect the players, it is possible that the development of rivalry between players on opposite sides will result in an injured player (Broglio et al., 2014). For this reason, even in the games, the players need to be careful and take care of their bodies. While the avoidance of contact may sometimes result in dissent from the watching supporters, it is a good strategy of staying fit (Steffen et al., 2013). For this reason, the players should always take good care of themselves, even when a game is in progress.
It is impossible to eliminate the risk of injury in sports. Accidents are often responsible for the injuries and are impossible to predict or to prevent. Regardless, most injuries to young athletes come from neglect. The neglect comes from the athletes, the coaches or the staff. For this reason, establishing clear rules and making sure that all athletes follow the rules, while ensuring the competence of all the support staff, it is a good way to reduce the injuries. Constant reading of safety guides also helps to reduce the chances of injury and boost the fitness of the athletes. The possibility of permanent deformity and the need to avoid the pain and discomfort caused by the injuries should motivate all to avoid unnecessary risks both in the games and in training.
Broglio, S. P., Cantu, R. C., Gioia, G. A., Guskiewicz, K. M., Kutcher, J., Palm, M., & McLeod, T. C. (2014). National Athletic Trainers' Association Position Statement: Management of Sport Concussion. Journal of Athletic Training, 49(2), 245-265. doi:10.4085/1062-6050-49.1.07
Engebretsen, L., Bahr, R., Cook, J. L., Derman, W., Emery, C. A., Finch, C. F., . . . Steffen, K. (2014). The IOC Centres of Excellence bring prevention to Sports Medicine. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 48(17), 1270-1275. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2014-093992
Gronhaug, G., & Norberg, M. (2016). First overview on chronic injuries in sport climbing: Proposal for a change in reporting of injuries in climbing. BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine, 2(1). doi:10.1136/bmjsem-2015-000083
Lauersen, J. B., Bertelsen, D. M., & Andersen, L. B. (2013). The effectiveness of exercise interventions to prevent sports injuries: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 48(11), 871-877. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2013-092538
Malisoux, L., Frisch, A., Urhausen, A., Seil, R., & Theisen, D. (2013). Monitoring of sport participation and injury risk in young athletes. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 16(6), 504-508. doi:10.1016/j.jsams.2013.01.008
Myer, G. D., Kushner, A. M., Faigenbaum, A. D., Kiefer, A., Kashikar-Zuck, S., & Clark, J. F. (2013). Training the Developing Brain, Part I. Current Sports Medicine Reports, 12(5), 304-310. doi:10.1097/01.csmr.0000434106.12813.69
Paterno, M. V., Taylor-Haas, J. A., Myer, G. D., & Hewett, T. E. (2013). Prevention of Overuse Sports Injuries in the Young Athlete. Orthopedic Clinics of North America, 44(4), 553-564. doi:10.1016/j.ocl.2013.06.009
Steffen, K., Meeuwisse, W. H., Romiti, M., Kang, J., Mckay, C., Bizzini, M., . . . Emery, C. A. (2013). Evaluation of how different implementation strategies of an injury prevention programme (FIFA 11 ) impact team adherence and injury risk in Canadian female youth football players: A cluster-randomised trial. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 47(8), 480-487. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2012-091887
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