Fall is here, and it seems like just yesterday our kids were finishing their last day of school and summer was upon us. Summer is now over and the kids have headed back to school. That means it is time for school sports and many parents now-a-days are wondering about injury prevention and the safety of their kids.

I have been a physical therapist for 25 years. Having spent a large part of my career working with athletes, especially kids, I thought I would share a few ideas and concepts that could help parents know what they can do to protect their kids.  This is by no means comprehensive, and there are different schools of thought, but here are a few of mine.

Do your best to let the younger kids just learn to play.

I remember a conversation I had with a former professional basketball player who had also coached division one college.  She coached a group of third graders in her community.  Parents were excited and then she told them, I am not going to teach them all these “basketball fundamentals” and “set plays”.  I am going to let them learn how to play.  They played tag, and dodge ball and just learned to run and stop and avoid each other.  They learned what she called “physical competency”.  It is important for younger children to learn the basics of how to move, dodge, and fall safely.  Please avoid identifying a talent for a specific sport too early.

Keep kids active.

There are a lot of reasons to keep our children active and away from the electronics but from my professional perspective, one of the best reasons is that it is a great way to reduce injury.  Our bodies were designed to move.  That doesn’t mean we have to be moving 100 mph all the time.   Varying the intensity of activity and the type of activity is crucial.  Going from practice, to outdoor chores, to riding bikes with the neighborhood kids, trains the body to be more resilient.

Rest is important!

Our bodies need a chance to recover, even a young person’s.  It is important on a daily basis, a weekly basis and also in-between periods of intense work.  A body that is over-trained has a tendency to break down and get injured.

Take pain and injury seriously.

We are all only given so much ability to heal.  Often times, because we want to get back in the game, or we want our kids to get back in the game, we make decisions that may give us or them immediate gratification, but in the long run causes injury.  As a parent it is my job to protect my child’s future as well as their current health.  I want my children to be able to play with their children and grandchildren.

So there you have it, a few ideas that might help.  It is certainly not comprehensive, but if you look for the underlying principles, you might find some wisdom.


If you need further clarification, check with your health care professional or always feel free to contact Bryan Outpatient Services at 402-481-5121.

Ed Meelhuysen

Health Expert

Ed Meelhuysen is the PT Rehab Services Manager Acute Care and Outpatient Services with Bryan Medical Center.

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