Panama City - An estimated 30 million young Americans are participating in organized sports. While that's great news in the fight against childhood obesity, it also means more athletic injuries. The US Centers for Disease Control say more than 3.5 million kids under 14 were treated for a sports injury last year. So what can you do to help protect your child from an athletic injury? Turns out, quite a bit. According to the CDC, more than half of all children's athletic injuries are preventable.
From simple ball work to plyometrics and conditioning sprints, every Tornadoes Extreme Soccer Camp workout starts just with drills alternating with stretching. Sports medicine specialist Dr. Michael Noble says a good warm up goes a long way towards preventing common injuries. "During football season we see a lot of concussions. Early in the summer we see a lot of heat related illnesses as well. But the vast majority are just sprains and strains," said Dr. Michael Noble, M.D. of Southern Orthopedic Specialists.
Another weapon in the arsenal against injury: hydration. "If you get dehydrated your performance is going to go down and that is when you are more prone to have an injury," said Dr. Noble. "Hydration is very important the day and the evening before. If your child is going to train on Friday, Thursday evening, Thursday afternoon that is when they need to really drink fluids," said Bay High School Boys Soccer Head Coach Ron Houpt.
And make sure your child is communicating with you and their coach about any pain. "After a minor injury you can usually go back to exercising after a short time, but if you go without telling anybody, it can become a chronic injury," said Cameron Trawick, Assistant Coach of Bay High Soccer.
When it comes to head injuries, the state has stepped in a with a new law. "If you have an athlete that is suspected of having a concussion they have to be evaluated and cleared for competition before they are able to go back and play. This is the first scholastic athletic year this takes place," said Dr. Noble. "A lot of head injuries are caused by kids not being coached properly ,going in to attack the ball with the head, not judging distance or the size of the player," said Pat Reed, a Bay High Soccer Assistant Coach. "The best way to prevent an actual head injury is to be smart about how you play," said Reed.
And don't forget about rest. "I think the thing we see the most of is overuse injuries, it's athletes that are playing sport after sport after sport without rest. The most important thing for an athlete is proper conditioning, proper acclimation to the climate, but then again having periods of rest," said Dr. Noble.
Also new for this upcoming school year, new regulations from the Florida High School Athletic Association concerning hydration and heat illness. The new rules will limit the number of two a day practices football players can do the first few weeks back on the field.