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COLUMN: Three easy steps to reduce injury risk

Tribune Staff • Mar 3, 2017 at 1:27 AM

There is nothing worse than seeing the look of disappointment and pain on a child's face. After an offseason filled with practicing and dreaming of the upcoming season, one wrong step, cut, or jump can lead to an injury and season of sitting on the bench. If possible, wouldn’t you take all the necessary steps to limit the chance of injury? Although some injuries are not preventable, here are three important steps to staying healthy.

Proper Sleep

Everyone is busy. I get it. However, did you know that a poor night’s sleep puts your student at a higher risk of injury? One study found that kids who slept more than eight hours per night had a 68% less chance of getting injured during sports. So, shut the television off, put your phone away, and get to bed! It may just save you from an injury.

Our bodies sleep best in dark, cool environments, so consider purchasing light-canceling shades and turning the AC down a few degrees at night. Also, avoid staring at bright lights 30 minutes before bed. Many electronics including your phone, TV, or computer emit bright light that tricks your body into thinking it is daytime. Instead, try reading a book or listen to relaxing music immediately before bed. Doing this allows the brain to settle down to fall asleep faster.

Proper Eating Habits

Food is fuel for our bodies. Put bad fuel in and you get bad results. Put good fuel in and your body benefits. With the business of life, eating well can be a constant battle. While the quick, easy option may sound good at the time, your body will feel its effects up to days later. Eating a poorly nutritious meal prior to a game or practice will keep your student from performing at his or her best. Eating poorly over time can quickly result in suffering from a nutritional deficiency.

Unsure what the nutritional guidelines are for your child? Many nutritional websites, such as www.nutritional.gov, provide helpful resources including grocery lists and recipes. If you are looking for in depth nutritional counseling including meal programming seek out a registered dietitian.

Proper Training

Look into any athletic training room during the first week of a season and you’ll find it packed. Too many times, an athlete’s body is simply not ready for the demands of their sport. The intensity of practices and games often are much more than what a typical offseason program includes.

Seek out an experienced coach or trainer during the offseason to ensure your athlete is following a logical progression of activity leading up to the season. Training in small groups of similar ability level during the offseason is often another great way to prepare for the intensity of an upcoming season. In season be sure your athlete is in constant communication with their athletic trainer about any aches or pains they may be having. Small aches or pains can quickly become a full-blown injury.

Follow these three steps to reduce your risk of injury and stay on the field all season long.

— By Derek Rietman, CPT, FAFS, Trainer at i’move

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