HELPING YOUNG ATHLETES PREVENT INJURIES & IMPROVE THEIR GAME
WHY THE OFF-SEASON IS IMPORTANT
If you’re an NFL fan, then you might not need extra reasons to celebrate this time of year, But with Nov. 5 officially designated as American Football Day, you have even more grounds to put on your favorite jersey, load up the barbecue, and crowd in front of the TV to watch one of the greatest displays of athleticism and strength known to humankind. While I look forward to watching football this time of year, I’ve actually been spending most of my free time helping coach my son’s baseball team. Owning a physical therapy clinic and getting to witness all these kids spend as much time as they possibly can practicing and understanding as much as possible about the sport, I keep thinking about how important it is for young athletes to strengthen their bodies in the off- season to ensure they are physically sound during game time. Nowadays, there seems to be a big push to help kids hit more home runs, make more tackles, and sink more 3-pointers. But there’s not enough attention paid to ensuring their musculoskeletal system can withstand the bigger, faster, and stronger gameplay. In more 3-pointers. But there’s not enough attention paid to ensuring their musculoskeletal system can withstand the bigger, faster, and stronger gameplay.” “Nowadays, there seems to be a big push to help kids hit more home runs, make more tackles, and sink
truth, this is one of the main reasons why so many injuries occur. Athletes’ bodies don’t have the foundation to keep up.
The other primary cause for frequent sports-related injuries is that most young athletes no longer have a designated off- season to train. The ones who focus on one sport will often play year-round, and the others who play multiple sports finish one season only to jump straight into the start of the next. As someone who grew up playing basketball and baseball from my kindergarten years through college, I remember spending nearly every waking hour crafting my abilities. I’d spend about two hours at practice and then come home and play in the driveway. While I was one of the lucky ones who didn’t have to deal with the pain and aftermath of big injuries sustained on the field or court, working with patients at Regenerative Physical Therapy & Wellness, I’ve created rehabilitation plans for a number of teenage athletes who’ve had recent elbow, knee, or shoulder surgeries. You can’t improve upon your strength and mechanics during the regular season because your body is working too hard to win games. And, without an off- season to build up a solid foundation, you not only leave your body open to more injuries, but you also can’t reach your full potential as an athlete.
time with a physical therapist or licensed personal trainer to have him evaluated for movement issues. (It’s important that the personal trainer you see is licensed in order to receive proper care.) All young athletes, regardless of age, need to be under advisement from someone who understands how the body is supposed to function in order to identify any abnormal movements. For example, at our office, we conduct full- body assessments from head to toe. If we detect any muscle tissue that’s not working the way it should be, we work on improving that area through therapy or general strengthening. If your child is like mine and has aspirations to play sports for as long as they can, then it’s of the utmost importance that they be evaluated for movement abnormalities and find time to work on strengthening any problematic areas. Even if they’re young, sports still cause their bodies to break down. But by finding time for off-season foundational work, they will not just prevent injuries; they’ll drastically improve their game. -Daniel Tribby
Even though my son is younger, during his off season, I’m going to make sure he spends
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