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Many athletic injuries can be prevented. Focus on the FUN and these tips to keep kids playing sports.  We share our tips for youth sports injury prevention.

Play a variety of sports.

About half of youth sports injuries are from overuse. Immature body, insufficient rest and too much repetitive activity contribute to overuse injuries.

Rest 1 to 2 days per week.

Young bodies need time to rest from physical activity. Walk, stretch or take a break!

Take off at least 3 consecutive months a year from the chosen sport.

Athletes can still be active; this is a great time to cross-train.

Delay single sport specialization until age 15-16 (pending sport).

Some exceptions, like gymnastics, tend to specialize at a younger age.  Athletes who participate in a variety of sports have fewer injuries and play sports longer than those who specialize before puberty.

Prior to age 12, spend 80% of time in deliberate play.

Play means non-competitive activity.  Pick-up games, practice and a variety of sports are key to reaching 80%.

Speak up when fatigued and do not push through the pain.

No pain, no gain is not always the motto.

Wear appropriate and properly fitting gear.

This includes wearing the right size helmets, shin guards during practice and games, etc.

Use proper technique and abide by sport rules.

Pitch counts are in place to protect young shoulders. Developing your skill with the right form and technique can help prevent injuries.

Get a pre-participation sports physical exam to ensure proper physical condition to play.

The exams prior to the school season may seem redundant, but they are required to ensure athletes are in good condition to play.

In general, early specialization does not link to elite performance. Some athletes are born to be great!  Unfortunately, sports specialization leads to increased burnout, anxiety and injuries.  Athletes (and their parents!) who follow these key steps can prevent injuries to keep them in the game. Focus on the FUN!

Source: STOP Sports Injuries, Safe Kids USA, American Academy of Pediatrics, AJSM

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