If sports are not played carefully and symptoms of injury are not recognized, severe damage could occur among adolescent athletes, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), which recommends several safety tips to follow to avoid injury.

“It’s important to remember, young athletes’ bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments are still developing during their adolescent years,” says AAOS spokesperson and orthopaedic sports surgeon Anita Rao, MD, in a media release.

“This makes them more vulnerable to injury. An injury to the growth plate of an adolescent who is continuing to grow can cause bone deformity, creating problems for life.”

The AAOS recommends the following fall sport safety tips for young athletes:

  • Always get a pre-participation sports physical examination to ensure you’re in proper physical condition to play a sport.
  • Know and abide by the rules of a sport.
  • Wear appropriate protective gear (for example, a hard-shell helmet and padding for football, shin guards for soccer).
  • Know how to correctly use athletic equipment.
  • Always warm up before playing.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Avoid playing when very tired or in pain.
  • Avoid overuse injuries by taking regular breaks and playing other sports. Understand the signs of an injury caused by overuse. These signs include pain that cannot be tied to an acute injury and increases with activity, swelling, changes in form or technique, decreased interest in practice.
  • Wear shoes that provide strong ankle and arch support.

For more information, visit AAOS.

[Source(s): American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, PR Newswire]