Tips to Prevent Injury in Young Athletes

By: Dr. Jessica Hull

Spring has sprung and many parents know what that means…the start of spring sports season! Students of all ages are heading into sports seasons such as baseball, softball, track and field, and lacrosse. The competition is heating up and students are giving their all on the field. While this may lead to victories, school records, and college recruitment on a good day, it may also increase your student’s risk of developing injuries, either from overuse or overdoing it on game day. Below are a few pro-tips to keep students healthy during the spring sports season:


  • Don’t forget the importance of cross-training. Many students specialize in one sport early on in their career and develop patterns of movement that may result in overuse injuries. By participating in multiple different forms of exercise, the body can learn to be strong in many different patterns of movement and spread the load more evenly across many muscles and joints. Yes, playing pickup soccer with your family on the weekends can make you a better baseball player! Sounds crazy, but it’s true!


  • Many injuries will heal on their own with a little time and TLC. A mild sprain or strain will likely result in pain but no significant swelling or bruising and will likely improve on its own within about 2 weeks. Allowing the body part to rest and treating with ice and anti-inflammatories can make the healing process more efficient. If it doesn’t feel better within that first couple weeks, having an injury screen or evaluation with a physical therapist can be a first line intervention. PTs can help decide if you need to go see a physician and have any scans or imaging done, or if you can heal conservatively with some targeted exercises. Coming straight to PT may help you skip some steps in the healthcare system and get some immediate tools to help with pain, strength, and mobility. Also, with most insurance plans, you don’t need a referral to schedule physical therapy directly! If, after 42 days, we determine you need more care, our office will work with your doctor to obtain a referral.


  • Don’t forget that sports are meant to be fun! They are supposed to be stress-relieving, help your student build relationships with others, and add enrichment to their lives. If sports begin to take over your student’s life and they are starting to feel burned out or struggle to maintain other aspects of their life such as getting enough sleep, eating enough high-quality food, or experience high levels of stress, it may be worth taking a step back and prioritizing self-care first, before diving back into competition season.

If you are a student athlete or their parent and are struggling with sports performance this season, please come in for a free injury screen or get evaluated by one of our skilled therapists. Our team of experienced, caring providers works with patients of all ages and activity levels. We have three convenient Indianapolis locations: FishersNorth Meridian, and Zionsville. See what makes Body One better – and reach your goals this year!