With the start of a new school year and participation in after-school sports, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) has shared the following fall sport safety tips designed to reduce young athletes’ risk of injury:
- Get a pre-participation sports physical examination to ensure you’re in proper physical condition to play a sport.
- Know and abide by the rules of a sport.
- Wear appropriate protective gear (e.g., a hard-shell helmet and padding for football and shin guards for soccer).
- Know how to correctly use athletic equipment.
- Warm up before playing.
- Stay hydrated.
- Avoid playing when very tired or in pain.
- Avoid overuse injuries by taking regular breaks and playing other sports. Understand the signs of an injury caused by overuse (e.g., pain that cannot be tied to an acute injury and increases with activity, swelling, changes in form or technique, and decreased interest in practice).
- Wear shoes that provide strong ankle and arch support.
“It’s important to remember, young athletes’ bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments are still developing during their adolescent years,” said AAOS spokesperson and orthopaedic sports surgeon Anita Rao, MD. “This makes them more vulnerable to injury. An injury to the growth plate of an adolescent who is continuing to grow can cause bone deformity, creating problems for life.”