How to Help Keep Your Kid in the Game This Spring (And Off The Injury List)

Every spring, tons of kids head into their rigorous athletic spring schedules. From softball to baseball, soccer and beyond, winter’s end means a beginning to warm-weather sports for plenty of youth. Yet with the increased focus on specialization, kids are ending up with overuse injuries in higher numbers and the requisite physicals often don’t address risks that could lead to serious injury later in the season. We share how to help keep your kids off the sidelines and in the game this spring.

One Sport, Year ‘Round

Decades ago, kids playing recreational sports might go from football in the fall to basketball in the winter and baseball in the spring, or soccer in the fall and play tennis in the spring. Now, with the rise of highly-competitive leagues and the push for sports scholarships, many parents and even coaches encourage kids to specialize in one sport at much younger ages. Further, what used to be a one-season sport has become year-round; kids go from the regular-season, to private training, other leagues, and end up playing all year. This specialization and year-round focus can lead to overuse injuries that can have serious implications for kids, whether they choose to stick with sports or not. Injuries like torn rotator cuffs, torn ACLs, severe ankle sprains, knee injuries, tennis elbow, and more can plague our kids just like they do the pros – but for kids who often can’t even drive yet.

What the Physical Won’t Do

For almost every sport, a sports physical is required. A medical professional will perform a short overall physical assessment, including checking heart rate, weight, eye sight, lung function, and ask other health questions. This physical is largely designed to show any physical conditions that might cause health problems or pose a risk to the young athlete. While very prudent, what this exam won’t typically do is show issues of the musculoskeletal system that might lead to injury down the road. The doctor or nurse practitioner (in some cases) is usually not trained to evaluate movement and strength/weaknesses of the musculoskeletal system which could result in problems for the athlete.

Visit a Physical Therapist

Before your young athlete starts his/her season, visit a physical therapist. A physical therapist is typically a doctor in one of several disciplines and an expert in the musculoskeletal system. S/he can examine and assess your child for movement/mobility issues and anything that might pose an injury risk. If your athlete is already having some pain/problems, a PT is exactly who you need to see for treatment to help get back on track. A physical therapist will perform a thorough exam and, if necessary, create a custom treatment plan based on your athlete’s needs, condition, goals, and more. Thanks to direct access, you can call a PT directly and make an appointment without a referral. Your physical therapist’s office will work with your insurance company and your doctor’s office if a referral or more visits are necessary.

Body One Physical Therapy would love to meet you and your young athletic star! We’re locally-owned and operated and our caring, expert physical therapists see clients of all ages and activity levels. We have four locations serving Central Indiana so you can find one that fits your schedule: North Indianapolis, South Indianapolis, Fishers, and Zionsville. Why wait to start feeling better? Call Body One today and let us help get you moving in the right direction!