Mom and Dad are cheering as little David rounds first and heads to second. They know he’ll make it before the throw, but he’ll have to slide. He hits the dirt – left leg tucked under, right leg out in front. Safe!
Lynda Reha, director of Rehabilitative Services, heads the partnership with Sentara Healthcare and the Prince William Courage soccer club.
Plays like this happen every day in America. Unfortunately, each year more than 3.5 million children under the age of 15 are injured while playing sports.
“So many children play sports that injuries are unavoidable,” says Lynda Reha, director of Rehabilitative Services at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center. “Sports are definitely good for kids, but precautions should be taken to decrease the risk of injury.”
Reha offers the following tips to prevent sports injuries in children:
1) Wear all proper safety equipment and use all sports equipment correctly.
2) Be in good condition.
3) Abide by all rules – they’re in place not only for fair play but for safety.
4) Always warm up and stretch before playing.
5) Don’t play when you’re ill or hurt.
“Many kids don’t appreciate the importance of stretching and conditioning,” explains Reha. “Understandably, they just want to go out there and play. But preparation is so important to prevent injuries. Sometimes, injuries are a matter of circumstance, but proper stretching and conditioning can decrease the chances for injury.”
Your child’s hurt, now what?
“Playing ‘through the pain’ is a terrible idea for children,” explains Reha. “That pain is giving your child the message that something is wrong. Continuing to play can make the injury even worse, or can even cause permanent damage. If pain is impeding his or her ability to play or is persistent, he or she should be seen by a physician.”
Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center and Sentara Lake Ridge have teamed up with Prince William Soccer, Inc. to provide sports medicine services to soccer athletes who participate with the Prince William Courage.
“This partnership allows Prince William Courage athletes to have quick access to our emergency physicians, diagnostic studies, and appointments with the appropriate medical specialist and can help athletes get back in the game when injuries occur,” says Reha.
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