Today, April 6, marks the 27th celebration of National Student Athlete Day. Since 1987, high school and college athletes have been recognized for their outstanding achievements in athletics, academics and service to their communities. To date, over 3.6 million athletes have been honored on this day.
Being a student athlete and balancing your home, school and sports commitments is no easy task so I join the National Consortium for Academics and Sports (NCAS) in saluting these hard-working individuals.
Unfortunately, I frequently see student athletes in my Houston podiatrist office after they’ve experienced a sports injury. All too often, one misstep on the baseball or football field or basketball court can spell the end of a promising athletic career for these kids.
Nothing is more devastating to a student athlete than a game-ending injury, so I’d like to share some preventative tips today to help keep young athletes from getting hurt.
Get Checked First
Before allowing your child to participate in competitive sports, he or she should see a doctor to rule out any medical conditions that could impede their participation. Be sure and mention any previous injuries, even if it’s just a sprained ankle, during that visit.
Always Warm Up
This should be a given, but sometimes student athletes are so excited for a match-up that they forget to do the basics and then get hurt. Before any game or practice, student athletes should warm up by engaging in light exercise for about 10 minutes, followed by stretches for each major muscle group. To get the most effective injury-prevention, each stretch should be held for at least 30 seconds.
Overuse injuries are all too common in student athletes. If you’re worried that your child is being pushed too hard by his or her coach, speak up and suggest more rest time. If the coach is resistant, seek a doctor’s medical opinion before allowing your child to continue attending practices and games.
Advocate for your Child
Student athletes are notoriously committed to their teammates, often to the detriment of their own health. If your son or daughter has a sports injury and is pushing to return to the game, make sure your own doctor clears him or her for play first. A team doctor may not value your athlete’s health as much as the team’s overall record.
Student athletics are incredibly enriching but can be dangerous. If your son or daughter of any age has experienced a sports injury, schedule an appointment for an evaluation at Tanglewood Foot Specialists to protect his or her health.