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As summer football camps ramp up and young athletes get ready for summer and fall sports, it’s important for parents and kids alike to take important steps to prevent injury.
Robert E. Berry, D.O., an orthopaedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist on the medical staff at Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano, offers these tips.
1. Get a physical. “Start with a physical exam with a physician, ideally with a sports injury medicine physician,” Dr. Berry says. “And if problems are identified, work with an appropriate specialist to treat them.”
For example, he notes, some athletes may be identified as having a high risk of knee injury. Female athletes especially are at risk of ACL and knee injuries. These young athletes can train to lower that risk.
Kids involved in contact sports such as football and hockey should also have an ImPACT test. This computerized neurocognitive test gives doctors a baseline to be able to later assess cognitive function after a concussion, Dr. Berry explains.
2. Train as an individual. Dr. Berry emphasizes the need for each individual athlete to be evaluated to have a unique training program designed for them. “You can’t put a quarterback on the same workout regimen as you’re going to put a lineman on,” he says.
Plus, he says, some programs don’t offer young athletes balanced training.
“A big concern for me is that a lot of strength-training programs actually put our athletes at greater risk,” he says. “Doing more functional training and core training activities are important in decreasing athletic injuries.”
3. Maintain cardiovascular fitness. “Maintaining cardiovascular fitness is very general, but when an athlete becomes fatigued, he or she is at risk for injury,” Dr. Berry notes.
4. Know your team doc. “There are a lot of physicians caring for teams who don’t have sports medicine training,” he says. “Parents should be informed about who the team physician is and give input.”
Learn more about how the ACL Injury Prevention Program at Baylor Plano can help female athletes reduce their risk for injury. For a referral to an orthopaedic specialist on the Baylor Plano medical staff, click here.
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