This spring, millions of students will participate in school sports across the country. Sports are a great way to get your child active and help maintain their overall health, but the risk of a potential injury still persist.

The CDC estimates that injuries from school sports are the leading cause of emergency room visits among adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17. Sports injuries are common among students participating in youth athletics but should not dissuade parents from enrolling their children.

Instead, parents can implement some preventive steps to help reduce the likelihood that their child is injured while playing any type of sport. At AFC Urgent Care Malden, we’ve complied a list of the most effective prevention steps to help keep your child healthy and safe on the field!

Make sure athletic equipment fits properly and protects your child

Your child’s athletic equipment including footwear, pads, helmets, and gear like sticks or playing items are fitted properly. Especially during contact sports, you’ll want to double check if protective equipment fits before purchasing it.

In addition, make sure you talk with your child’s coach or athletic department if they received an ill-fitting equipment provided by their school.

Have your child stretch before and after a game or match

Stretching before an athletic event is one of the most effective ways to prevent a future injury. It is recommended by most athletic experts to stretch approximately 15 minutes before participating in any sport.

Your child should also stretch after physical activity to help reduce the chances of pulling a muscle and increasing flexibility. Stretching is especially important for preventing lower body injuries such as hamstring, calf, and similar leg injuries.

Don’t play through the pain and ice minor injuries frequently

Sometimes, a student athlete may be encouraged to “play through the pain” and finish an athletic competition even when they are experiencing some minor injuries or pain.

Advise your child not to play through any pain since it could lead to a worsened injury after the game. Adrenaline may begin to kick in as your child continues to play, which can make the injury feel less painful than the actual extent of the injury. Whenever your child has any minor injuries also make sure to ice them frequently to reduce swelling and allow the injured tissue to heal.

Get an updated sports physical before participating

Most school sports require your child to get an updated physical before the spring sports season begins. However, getting an updated physical as early as possible allows you to identify any pressing healthcare risks as well as potential injury from certain sports.

And as always you can take your child to AFC Urgent Care Malden to get any updated sports physicals in a quick visit at an affordable price!