If you have children who participate in spring sports, it is important to recognize they will likely grow out of their athletic equipment. It has most likely been a few months, or maybe even years, since they tied their laces and wore their helmet. Before leaving the house make sure you check every piece of equipment from their shin guards to their gloves. Not only to ensure they are a perfect fit but to check for wears and tears that may need replacement or repair. If footwear items have been recently purchased, make sure they have been “broken into” before the first sports practice to avoid sores.
Checking equipment does not only apply to fast-growing children-- adults must be properly protected too. Before leaving your home for a game, practice, or even the gym, make sure your attire fits appropriately and is functioning. There is no point in wearing protection pads if they are overly-worn and damaged. No matter your age or activity, be sure to check your equipment thoroughly.
Inspect Your Field
In areas that are susceptible to more extreme winters, outdoor fields may not be in optimal condition at the beginning of the new season. Be sure to have a coach, referee, parent, or yourself, inspect the playing fields for debris and damage to the surface. Engaging in athletic activities on safe, stable surfaces is an easy way to decrease the risk of non-contact injuries such as sprains and tears in the foot and ankle.
Consider starting the season with low-intensity exercises. Off-season conditioning is wise and can be very helpful, but athletes are not in perfect shape year-round. Participate in strength and conditioning exercises directed towards the demand of the specific sport. The Physical Therapy Experience in Smithtown, NY advises athletes to increase the intensity of workouts to avoid overuse injuries gradually.
Always Perform a Cool-Down
A light stretch and mellow exercises after intense workouts help loosen muscles. This tip is especially important towards the beginning of the season as sport-specific muscles will be sore. For example, a softball player’s arm may be sore and tight after performing a variety of exercises at the gym all winter that did not specifically cater to that affected area. Therefore, it is critical to stretch before and after athletic activity to prevent aches and strains.
Sunscreen and Hydration
Whether you are on the field, on the sidelines, or in the crowd, all attendees to all spring sports games must stay hydrated and wear sunscreen. The cloudy early spring days are misleading-- you can still get a sunburn! Heat exhaustion begins as muscle cramps and can escalate very quickly and can lead to a heat stroke. The team at The Physical Therapy Experience encourages athletes to stay protected and hydrated this season to stay safe, stay in the game, and keep performing your best.
We Can Help
Spring sports is an exciting time for all and are a great way to get outside and enjoy the weather. Although spring sports bring a lot of joy and excitement, they can quickly lead to tragic accidents if you are not safe or prepared. By following these tips, we hope you and your loved ones have a fun and successful season! If you find yourself in need of physical therapy in Smithtown, NY consider contacting The Physical Therapy Experience to get you back on your feet. Make an appointment with one of our specialists today.