How often do you think about preventing sports injuries in your athletes? Thousands of kids incur minor sports injuries every year, but it’s not necessarily a subject that is on most parents minds, oftentimes until it’s too late. I was like most moms, you know, just having them stretch a lot and eat their greens (the latter was usually a fail). I have two healthy and active boys, what else could they possibly need (famous last words)? Like many other moms out there, I found out the hard way that preventing injury should part of a daily routine. While not every boo-boo can be avoided, many can be stopped before they start with a little proactive action, and some pre-activity TLC.
The back story
Like I said, I learned the hard way. Last year my then 9-year-old played his first year of select baseball. He loved it and was doing great, but mid way through the season he started to complain about knee soreness every once in a while. It would go away with a little rest so we weren’t too concerned. The discomfort would come back often enough though so we took him to see the Pediatrician. She diagnosed him with tendinitis in the knee. As a precaution she recommended resting him for about a week to see how he feels. We did that, he felt better, so back in the line-up he went. This happened on and off ALL season long. Some days he felt fine, others, he was too sore to play. The Dr. took x-rays, with nothing broken, she recommended physical therapy. The season ended in August, and football started the very next day (no rest for the weary?). He was still going through PT and resting as needed. His football coach knew he was day to day, but when the first game of the season came, he felt good so we let him play (insert the ‘smh’ emoji here). He ran for the first touchdown pass of the game, jumped up and caught it for the TD! It was awesome! Unfortunately though, he said he felt a ‘pop’ in the bad knee when he jumped, and limped his way through the rest of the quarter. Back to the doctor we went. She took more x-rays and sent him in for an MRI, then referred him to an Orthopedic Surgeon. Stuff just got real. Meanwhile, he was still able to walk and even jog, but not run or squat his knees. The Ortho reviewed his MRI and all was well there (thank you Lord), but diagnosed him with a common ailment in growing kids called Sinding Larsen Johansson syndrome, or inflammation of the bone at the bottom of the kneecap, due to overuse during a growth spurt. That made his knee very weak and susceptible to injury, and that ‘pop’ he felt during that TD pass was actually a Patellar Sleeve Fracture, which although rare, occurs between the cartilage “sleeve” and main part of the patella, most commonly in children. The Orthopedic put him in a cast from the top of the thigh down to the ankle for 4 weeks, followed by an adjustable brace for another 4 weeks. Football season ended early for him, and the ability to return to baseball when that season started back up in January, was questionable to say the least.
We didn’t take the proper precautions to make sure he was fully healthy enough to play hard sports, and for a long period of time.
I remember asking myself over and over..where did we go wrong? What could we have done to avoid this? The more I pondered, I came to the realization that we didn’t take the proper precautions to make sure he was fully healthy enough to play hard sports, and for a long period of time. I felt horrible as a mom, I felt in my heart that we could’ve done something to bypass this.
That began my journey on figuring out what I could do to help my kids prevent injury in their sports. I researched a ton, and sought advice from our doctor, and Physical Therapists. What they advised made sense, they offered practical and totally doable methods to steer clear of injuries. Again, I know that not all can be averted, but I had to try. Count me in on anything I can do to keep their bodies sound.
As soon as my son was cleared to return to sports in late January, I put a few of their recommended practices into play. I believe they are helping the boys feel, move, and perform better. As a mother, I feel so much better knowing I am doing everything in my power to keep them injury-free.
So what exactly am I doing different this year?
In this 3 part series, I’m sharing what we did to get our kiddo back in the game and hopefully avoid any more sports injuries in our household. The following have become part of our daily, pre-game, or weekly ritual. They are done on a consistent basis, and along with a good diet and plenty of water, I accredit this process in helping my son heal and stay game-ready.
Keep in mind, what works for my family may not work for yours, we are all unique. Be sure to consult with your Pediatrician before starting any new health routine.
A strong and healthy body starts from the inside, out. As I mentioned, a good diet and hydration is key, but a body that works hard, can sometimes need more. For us, every morning starts with a glass of milk, a serving of grains and a protein, and the supplements explained in this video, and listed below.
Multi-Vitamin– 2 per day of this complete multi-vitamin is a great way to compensate for any vitamins or minerals not acquired through foods. This brand in particular was recommended to us by our Dr. They come in gummy form and my son doesn’t complain about them (score!).
Calcium & Vitamin D3 – The orthopedic started my son on Calcium & Vitamin D3 to strengthen his bones during and after treatment.
Deep Blue Polyphenol Complex Capsules – This one is my fave! Anti-inflammatory properties, safe for kids and fast-acting. This complex contains frankincense extract which is shown to help support muscle and joint comfort and function. Boswellia Serrata extract to promote healthy mobility and function, can provide soothing support throughout the entire body. Plus this formula is made up of extracts of ginger, curcumin, resveratrol, and other polyphenols to soothe aches and discomfort. The extracts of ginger and turmeric have been used for centuries for their soothing benefits and are perfectly complemented by a blend of antioxidant-rich polyphenols. My 10-year-old takes 1 per day, and the teen gets 2 per day. My husband and I use Deep Blue Polyphenol complex as needed for our own body aches and pains as well.
IQ Omega 3 Fish Oil – 1 tsp. per day. Fish oil is high in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). Omega-3 supplements improve endothelial (blood vessel) function, reduce inflammation, and increase provision of energy from fat. Athletes use it because it reduces exercise-induced inflammation, decreases delayed-onset muscle soreness, and increases the rate of recovery. This is an essential supplement for kids and adults alike. Any Omega 3 fish oil could be good, however, I like the DoTerra one in particular because it contains Wild Orange oil, which disguises the oily taste. No complaints from my kids, so it’s a winner in my book!
Providing them with good supplements to help maintain their strength is only part of the equation. There are many components that come into play when it comes to preventing youth sports injuries and we’ve just scratched the surface. Be sure to come back for part 2 in the series, How to Prevent Youth Sports Injuries.
Next Up..Dynamic Stretching
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