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Back-to-school time often means shopping trips for school clothes, spiral-bound notebooks and backpacks. If your children participate in sports, this is also the time to make sure they’re healthy to play — and stay safe all season long. Here are three things you can do.
1. Schedule a sports physical. “Sports physicals are very important, and they are mandatory for athletic participation,” says Sarang Desai, D.O., an orthopaedic surgeon on the medical staff at Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano.
A physical, he explains, helps identify if a child has health risks. During a physical, a doctor will ask about the child’s medical history and conduct a physical exam.
“Doctors can also give tips on how to manage health issues like asthma, and can give training tips to help prevent re-aggravation of previous sports-related injuries,” he says.
2. Know the risks. “Each sport carries a risk of injury,” Dr. Desai says. “Generally, contact sports such as football, hockey and basketball have the highest incidences of injuries. But athletes participating in non-contact sports can also sustain serious injuries. For example, in gymnastics or cheerleading, a fall from a great height can pose a health risk.”
By understanding the risks, you and your child can take precautions to prevent injury, such as smart training or wearing the appropriate gear.
3. Recognize what pain means. “It is imperative the athlete listen to his or her body,” Dr. Desai says. “Pain is the body’s way of telling you to slow down because something may be wrong.”
Call your doctor, he says, if the pain continues after rest, ice, heat and other home therapies.
“Continuing to play in pain can lead to worsening of an injury,” he notes, “and the possibility of a longer recovery.”
Want to learn more about preventing and treating sports injuries? Attend a free sports injury seminar presented by Dr. Desai on Thursday, Sept. 23 from noon to 1 p.m. in Education Center 1 on the Garden Level. To register, click here.
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