It’s that time of year again. Time to lace up the cleats, strap on the helmet and “play ball.” As children gear up for another season of softball, t-ball and baseball, it’s important to keep safety and injury prevention tips in mind! Common injuries usually fall into two different categories, impact/contact and overuse. Impact/contact injuries are the result of the body coming in contact with a stationary or moving object. Impact injuries include broken or twisted ankles, concussions and sprains or strains. Overuse injuries are caused by repetitive actions that over time wear and/or stretch the muscles, joints or soft tissue. Players who pitch for their team are especially susceptible to overuse injuries. Overuse of the arm and shoulder often cause a condition commonly known as Little League Elbow. It is recommended that pitching is limited to a maximum of six innings per week and rest periods between pitching days should also be required.
Every team member should practice proper stretching and warm-up techniques while also cooling down after activity and avoid playing while in pain. Keep the tips below in mind to ensure your kids truly enjoy this summer season!
- Teach kids to listen to symptoms: Young athletes should be taught to listen to how their bodies are feeling. The first sign of a problem is pain.
- Observe their techniques: Coaches need to observe techniques, especially in pitchers. Prolonged improper pitching can lead to long-term shoulder damage. Additionally, improper technique can lead to an overuse injury.
- Condition: If possible start a conditioning program one month or more before the start of the season. A basic stretching routine should be used prior to a player even picking up a ball!
- Use ice: If a player is experiencing sore muscles and tightness, ice should be applied to the area for 10-15 minutes to help minimize the amount of blood that would otherwise likely drain into the muscle.
Physical therapy can serve as an important preventative measure as well as a rehabilitation resource. If you would like additional information on a physical therapy program that is right for you, please call toll-free 888-644-7747 or click here to locate a physical therapist at one of our PHOENIX facilities nearest you.