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  • Writer's pictureAngela Botha

Preventing Sports Injuries in Adolescents: Best Advice for Parents and Coaches

Updated: Apr 1, 2023

Adolescence is a critical period for the development of healthy exercise habits and a love of sport, but it's also a time when young athletes are at an increased risk of injury.

Here are some tips to help prevent sports injuries in adolescents:

1. Prioritise proper warm-up and cool-down: Adolescents should start and end each practice or game with a proper warm-up and cool-down. This includes stretching and dynamic movements to prepare the body for exercise, and static stretching to help the muscles relax and recover after exercise.

2. Encourage proper technique: Proper technique is essential to prevent injuries in sports. Coaches and parents should emphasize the importance of proper form and technique, and ensure that young athletes are learning the correct way to perform exercises and sports-specific movements.

3. Promote strength and conditioning: Adolescents should engage in regular strength and conditioning exercises to improve their overall fitness, reduce the risk of injury, and improve their performance in sport. They should get the strengthening advice from a qualified professional with specialist knowledge in adolescents.

4. Monitor volume and intensity: Adolescents should increase the volume and intensity of their training gradually to allow their bodies to adapt to the new demands. Coaches and parents should monitor the amount of practice and competition to prevent overuse and burnout. Training every day or several times a day is not recommended at high intensity. Also if playing for school, club and county , choose to drop sessions at the lowest level ( ie school or club) and focus on playing at the higest level

5. Ensure proper rest and recovery: Adolescents should get adequate rest and recovery time to allow their bodies to heal and repair. This includes getting enough sleep( minimum 8 hours) and taking rest days when needed.

6. Encourage hydration and a healthy diet: Adolescents should stay hydrated ( 30ml for every 1kg they weigh per day of clear fluids) and eat a healthy diet to support their growth and development and to maintain good health.

7. Wear appropriate gear and equipment: Adolescents should wear appropriate gear and equipment that fits properly, is in good condition, and meets safety standards for their sport

8. Seek professional advice: If an adolescent experiences pain or discomfort, it's important to seek professional advice from a physiotherapist or sports doctor. Early intervention can prevent a minor injury from becoming a more serious one.

Also adolescents are not mini adults and develop their own subset of injuries unique to their growth and development. It is therefore essential you seek the advice of someone with specialist knowledge. All the physiotherapists at Physiolistic undertake post graduate training in children and adolescent injuries and therefore all have specialist training to be able to give expert advice.

It's important to note that these tips should be used as guidelines and should be adjusted to the individual needs and characteristics of each adolescent.

Please contact us for further advice at Physiolistic as a small injury in a child can result in lifelong problems as an adult and we are all passionate about ensuring this does not happen, by giving expert early advice.

Also check out our injury prevention programme

Angela Botha

Clinical Director

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