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Soccer coach with his team.

Keep Kids Injury-Free During Fall Sports

Fall sports such as soccer, football, and volleyball are in high gear. As young athletes hit the playing fields, parents and coaches can take steps to prevent player injuries. 

In 2013, the Consumer Product Safety Commission annual report, kids ages 5 to 18 suffered from 88,000 injuries related to football, 434,000 from soccer, nearly 99,900 related to cheerleading, and more than 94,000 for volleyball.

“One of the most common sports-related injuries we see is from overuse,” says Dr. Stephen Bannar, an orthopedic surgeon with Tahoe Center for Orthopedics. “This is especially problematic with young athletes who often ignore an initial ache or pain."

Orthopedic experts suggest coaches and parents teach these safety tips to young players to prevent injuries:

  • Don't ignore the pain. All athletes, regardless of age, should be taught to pay attention to any aches and pains. An injury that goes unassessed or undiagnosed can get worse over time.
  • Don't skip the warm-up or cool-down. Before and after practice, do low-impact exercises such as walking or stretching.
  • Add strength training and stretching. To be safe and effective, hold the stretches for 10 to 12 seconds and don't push the body beyond he point of resistance.
  • Check your equipment. Always wear the appropriate protective athletic gear, such as helmets, mouth guards, pads or fitted cleats. Be sure all gear fits properly.
  • Stay hydrated. This is key to minimizing muscle cramps. If you feel thirsty, you've waited too long to drink fluids.
  • Consider the surface. Avoid an unsafe surface that is not in good condition.
  • Be flexible. If possible, rotate positions or try new sports during the off-season to help prevent overuse injuries.
  • Listen to your body. Avoid overtraining. If you develop any pain or discomfort, reduce the duration and intensity of the workout to avoid injury or burnout.

While not all injuries can be prevented, some can be avoided.

Barton Health’s Tahoe Center for Orthopedics provides orthopedic, sports medicine, and rehabilitation services and expertise in South Lake Tahoe, Incline Village, Roundhill, Zephyr Cover, and Carson City. Call 530.543.5554 for a consultation or visit tahoeorthopedics.com for more information.