Ask the Doctor: “Are sports safe for my kids?”

We wrapped up another soccer season a few weeks ago.  As much as I love seeing my kids being active, the practices, games and tournaments keep us pretty busy.  I’ll be honest; I’m looking forward to these next few weekends with no sports activities on the schedule.  But all too soon, another soccer and basketball season will be upon us and the practices and games start all over again.

And that brings me to the point of this article.  Kids and sports are common topics of conversation in my office.  No one would argue the benefits of kids playing sports; it gets them out from behind the TV and computer, builds strength and endurance, offers an outlet for adolescent energy, and fosters a sense of teamwork.  But the real question on parents’ minds is about their safety.

“Are sports safe for my kids?” is a common question and I’m not going to sugar-coat it.  Sports can be dangerous for our children.  However, we can’t cover them in bubble-wrap and keep them in the back of the closet.  They have their lives to live and sports and sports injuries are sometimes a part of it.

If your kids show an interest in sports, and you as a parent decide to allow them to participate, follow this advice to keep them safe…

Do your homework:  Do a thorough check of the program and inquire about the safety policies that are currently in place.  What are the guidelines around injuries such as strains, sprains and concussions?

Proper hydration: Water is a critical component to nearly every body function.  While the standard is five to eight 8-ounce glasses daily, your child athlete may require more based on their size, activity and weather conditions.  We’re talking pure water here, no sports drinks, soda or caffeinated beverages, which are often loaded with sugar.  Most kids, especially teenage girls, are very dehydrated.  Don’t take water intake lightly; it’s extremely important.

Proper nutrition: Whole, fresh foods are the key.  Fast and overly processed foods don’t give your child the nutrition they need to perform their best.  Nothing will squash their endurance, mental faculties and immunity faster than sugar (in all its many forms).  Think healthy fats, protein and vegetables.  And, no skipping meals like breakfast!

Add supplements:  Kids will be kids and we can’t constantly monitor their diets.  That’s why I always recommend high quality supplements.  A good multi-vitamin, omega-3 fish oil, vitamin D, and probiotic, will help them on and off the field!  And none of those discount or grocery store brands!  Often these vitamins have fillers in them that have no nutritional value, a cheaper component of a vitamin that is not easily absorbed by the body, or have not been purified for safety.

Take your cue from the pros:  Nearly every professional sports team has a team chiropractor, and they aren’t just being consulted after an injury, either.  Did you see the role that chiropractic played in the London Olympic Games?  Chiropractic is being used as a way to protect athletes from injury and to give them a competitive edge physically and emotionally.  These athletes are receiving regular chiropractic adjustments before, during and after games. I’m not saying your child needs that type of rigorous program, however, regular chiropractic adjustments are essential to correct misalignments caused by active play as well as to keep their bodies fully functioning.

Dr. Tiffany

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