The kids are back to school this month, and we all know what that means. Sports are back! Unfortunately, participating in sports can lead to injuries both big and small. As parents, guardians, or coaches we need to be prepared for preventing athletic injuries, and to seek treatment as soon as they happen. It’s actually really common for injuries to happen at the start of the season. Why? Because many children are not exercising at the same intensity during the summer as they do when it’s time for practices and games. Going from little to no activity into a high intensity activity level can cause muscle strains, sprains, and even torn ligaments. Here are some of our top tips for parents, coaches, and even athletes that you can use to prevent injuries this fall. Simple Tips to Preventing Athletic Injuries This Fall * Stay Active! – As we mentioned above, you want to stay active in the off-season so you don’t injure yourself when it’s time to perform at higher levels. By keeping yourself in shape, you’ll avoid the plagues of increasing your activity levels too high, too fast. Know your limits. – This is especially visible in high school level athletes. Freshman and sophomores may feel like they need to match the intensity of the more experienced athletes – however the intensity of your workouts should be what you can handle. Push yourself harder each time you practice or play, but not so excessively as to cause injury. You must pace yourself! Know the difference between PAIN and SORENESS. – Being sore is not necessarily a bad thing. But PAIN is a completely different beast. Be mindful of how your body feels at all times, and don’t try to “work through the pain”. Stay Hydrated. – Kids tend to forget how much water they really need when their focused on performing. It’s important to reinforce proper hydration with athletes so that they make it a habit. Dehydration is a big risk, especially when practicing in direct sunlight. Warmup Properly. – This one is for the coaches out there. Make sure your athletes are properly warmed up. The days of static stretching before practice should be long behind us. Athletes need dynamic warmups to prepare their bodies for the activities they will be doing. Jogging, jumping jacks, walking lunges, and leg kicks are just a few examples of dynamic stretches you can use for most sports. Preventing athletic injuries should be your number one focus this season. Do not wait to seek help until after the injury happens, focus on taking preventive measures. Schedule a FREE consultation with us at any of our SportsMed Physical Therapy locations in Ridgewood/HoHoKus, Clifton, Fair Lawn, Franklin Lakes, and Glen Rock. *Please consult your physician if you are experiencing severe pain.