5 tips for keeping kids healthy and safe while playing sports

Pay attention to warning signs and keep track of symptoms

A Group of baseball players standing together on the playground (UTMB Galveston)

April is National Youth Sports Safety Month. To keep your kids in the game, here are five tips to ensure your kids are safe while playing their favorite sport, according to UTMB Health Galveston.

1. Stretch

Warming up and stretching before your child practices or plays gets their muscles and joints ready. It increases blood circulation and improves flexibility to reduce the probability of injuries.

2. Gear up

Use proper protective gear, such as helmets, wrist guards and knee and elbow pads, in addition to any other sports gear that’s appropriate for the activity or player position.

3. Stay hydrated

To avoid heat illnesses, cramps or injuries during play, it’s important to drink plenty of fluids before, during and after practices and games. Taking breaks during practice and games can also reduce injuries and prevent heat illness.

4. Avoid overuse

Mix up your routine with cross-training and playing other sports. Exercising different parts of the body gives the most-used areas some much-needed rest. It’s also important to take recovery days to give muscles an opportunity to repair between practices and games.

5. Listen to your body

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 could lead to serious injury.

The main goal should be to have fun and learn lifelong physical activity skills. If you or your athlete are injured during a sports activity, UTMB Health has a team of sports medicine specialists that can comprehensively evaluate and treat the injury, as well as provide a rehabilitation plan to help you get back to doing what you love.

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