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for Friday, 15 November 2019

Keeping young athletes healthy and safe!

Parents: New guidelines for avoiding kids’ sports injuries.

Children need to move a lot for good health, and many in the U.S. aren’t meeting the recommendations for physical activity. But at the other end of the spectrum are kids who are exercising too much, and in the wrong ways. It’s these kids—and their parents—that the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) had in mind when issuing new guidelines on sports participation. While there’s nothing wrong with dreaming about being the next Megan Rapinoe or Zion Williamson, or hoping for a college scholarship, specializing in a single sport at a young age and training too hard can lead to injury and illness and may even harm mental health. The following NATA guidelines will help ensure that your child gets all of the fantastic benefits of sports—like fitness, camaraderie, and confidence—without getting hurt or burning out:

Delay specializing as long as possible. Instead of doing a single sport most of the year, children and teenagers should aim to participate in several sports (but not at the same time). This will help to prevent injury, build fitness, and make for well-rounded athletes. Children who do end up focusing on a single sport should limit participation to eight months a year to help their bodies recover.

Take time off. Be sure your young athlete has at least two days of rest and recovery a week, with no organized training or competition. (Feel free to go for a mellow family hike or bike ride,) At the end of a season, make sure your child takes a break from the sport.

Do the math. As a general guideline, children should not practice or play an organized sport for more hours a week than their age in years. A 14-year-old, for instance, shouldn’t do more than 14 hours a week.

Source: National Athletic Trainers' Association Releases Official Statement of Recommendations to Reduce the Risk of Injury Related to Sport Specialization for Adolescent and Young Athletes

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