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Preventing Injury in Youth Sports

Any coach will know that at some point in the season they will see some sort of youth sports injury. It really is just part of coaching.

The question is this. Could you have prevented it?

Coaches need to understand that the bodies of youth are not the same as adults. It is easy to forget as a coach.

Yet it is important to remember that an adult can handle more physical stress that a child. The reason? Kids are still growing and are more susceptible to injury.

Here are some tips that will help prevent youth sports injury.

1. Stretching is very important. As a coach you know the demands of your sport. Make sure you stretch the areas that will be affected in the flow of the game.

2. Leading a good warm-up should be considered as important as stretching. A light run will not only raise the athletes core temperature but also prepare the body for physical activity.

3. Under no circumstances should a child be encouraged to "play through the pain." Remember, pain is a warning sign for injury.

4. When a child has to deal with any swelling or limited motion - don't ignore it! A child might not know if they are seriously injured. As the coach you need to take some responsibility in this area.

5. If a player has been injured, remember that rest can be the best remedy. With this in mind know that pushing a child too hard can be the cause of some injuries.

6. It may be a surprise to many but injuries that look like a sprain for an adult may actually be a fracture for a child. Because a child is still growing they are more susceptible to this type of injury.

7. Be aware of growth spurts in children. As a child grows, the area that is "stretched" (growth plate) is weak. Be careful not to push a child too much!

8. Ice, Ice, Ice. Keep ice with you at all practices and games. It is the universal first-aid for all minor sports injuries.

For more on coaching youth sports, visit RTP Sports Camps.

Kent Janz is the founder of RTP Sports Camps. Having coached youth for 15 years, it was time to teach others to do the same. RTP Sports Camps is all about helping youth develop a love for sports. By the way, we are looking for coaches in your area!