Teen athletes today rival adult athletes in their performance and dedication. But, it’s important to remember that teenagers are more vulnerable to injuries than the average adult. The adolescent body is still growing and developing, so teen athletes must diligently practice injury prevention to stay healthy and competitive in their sport.
Below, you’ll find key strategies to help teen athletes avoid injuries and continue to do the sport that they love.
Teen Athletes Have Unique Needs
Coaches and parents must take special considerations when working with teen athletes. Unlike adult athletes, teens are still growing. The muscles, bones, ligaments, and tendons will continue to develop throughout the teen years, putting teen athletes at an increased risk for injury.
Additionally, teenagers are at risk for injured growth plates, which are sections of developing tissue at the ends of long bones. Growth plates are important, as they dictate the shape and length of the fully-grown bones. If a young athlete injures a growth plate, it could hinder the normal development of the bone.
How to Prevent Sports Injuries in Teens
One of the biggest risks in teen athletes is the struggle to communicate when something hurts. Sports are often competitive, and serious young athletes often tend to push through pain. As a coach, you can help to prevent overuse among your athletes by encouraging them to pay attention to pain, rather than brushing it aside.
Foster confidence and positivity among your young athletes to help them feel comfortable speaking up about pain or injury. This will allow you to catch injuries before they pull players off of the field.
Provide Adequate Rest Time
Teens are more likely to get injured when they’re overtired. Specifically, when teens push their physical limits on a lack of sleep and recovery time, they’re more likely to develop an overuse injury. So, make sure that your teen athletes are getting enough rest throughout training, games, and other events.
Teen athletes can also benefit from an offseason that provides ample recovery time. After a restful offseason, teens can return to the field, court, or pitch with renewed energy and strength.
Help With Cross-Training and Warm-Ups
Cross-training can help teen athletes develop strength and stability throughout the body. Many athletes, if they fail to cross-train, can experience an imbalance of muscular strength that can create the risk for injury. By encouraging cross-training in young athletes, you can improve their longevity in the sport while lowering their short-term risk for injury.
In addition to cross-training, warming up before a practice or game is crucial to injury prevention in teens. Warming up with dynamic stretches gets the muscles ready for physical activity and lowers athletes’ risk for both acute and overuse injuries.
At Wasserman Chiropractic, we can help teen athletes with targeted cross-training and warm-up exercises to supplement their training regimens. Contact us today to learn more.