4 steps to sports injury prevention

These steps can help prevent injury. (KPRC.)

With high school and youth sports now in full swing for the fall season, the risk of injury is present every time someone steps on to a playing field or court.

Here are four ways to help lessen the risk of sports injury, according to UTMB Health.

1. Listen to your body

It is important to pay attention to warning signs and keep track of symptoms such as unusual fatigue, loss of throwing control, or pain that develops after practice or competition. These could be signs of existing or impending injury. Do not play through pain or “tough it out,” as this may lead to serious injury.

2. Stay hydrated

To avoid heat illnesses, cramps or injuries during play, your athlete should drink plenty of fluids before, during and after practices and games.

3. Use the right equipment

Be sure that sports protective equipment is in good condition, fits appropriately and is worn correctly at all times. For example, avoid missing or broken buckles or compressed or worn padding. Poorly fitting equipment may be uncomfortable and may not offer the best protection. Make sure to use the right protective gear for the activity or sport, such as helmets, wrist guards, knee or elbow pads.

4. Have fun, reduce emotional stress

The pressure to win can cause significant emotional stress for a child. Young athletes should be judged on effort, sportsmanship and hard work. They should be rewarded for trying hard and for improving their skills rather than punished or criticized for losing a game or competition. The main goal should be to have fun and learn lifelong physical activity skills.

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