Fall sports have officially kicked off, which means soccer, football, volleyball and cheerleading are likely the highlight of your Saturdays. While it’s important to encourage our kiddos to be active and participate in team activities, these sports also come with potential risks. We encourage all parents and guardians to learn the warning signs of overexertion that could lead to dehydration, pulled muscles or other injuries. Check out the health tips below to ensure your little MVP stays on the field this season.
Stretch It Out – It’s the oldest tip in the book, but it’s also one of the most important. Before any kind of physical activity, no matter the intensity, make sure your athlete gets in plenty of stretching. A good stretching session combined with a dynamic warmup can go a long way in helping athletes of all ages avoid injuries, cramps and dehydration.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate – Speaking of dehydration, there’s any easy way to avoid this common symptom. Your athlete should be getting plenty of water on and off the field, especially in this Alabama heat. The night before a game or a practice, focus on pre-hydration by encouraging them to drink water, and make sure plenty of water is available on the sidelines. After the game, look for a healthy, low-sugar sports drink packed with electrolytes to help them recover.
Rest, Relax, Recharge – Kids want to be on the go 24/7, but rest is just as important as regular physical activity. When they’re not on the playing field, make sure your athlete is getting plenty of sleep so he or she can fully recharge. We recommend that children get at least nine hours of sleep during this important developmental period. A little R&R never hurt anybody!
Eat Like a Champion – A proper diet is vital for all kids, but especially your little rock stars who are spending their days going after goals, touchdowns and three-pointers. A balanced, healthy diet will fuel your child with plenty of energy and keep their bones and muscles strong, helping to reduce the likelihood of a serious injury.
Know What to Look For – Not all sports injuries look the same. A broken arm can quickly be spotted, but not every injury will be so obvious. If left untreated, sprains, fractures or small tears can lead to serious issues. So, once an injury is brought to your attention, don’t hesitate to get a second opinion at Urgent Care for Children. We offer fast X-ray services and final reads from board-certified pediatric radiologists to help advise on the best course of treatment.
We hope these tips are helpful in keeping your little athlete injury-free this season. But if your MVP goes down, remember that Urgent Care for Children’s team of pediatricians and pediatric nurse practitioners are here to get them back on the field in no time.