What is an overuse injury? It is damage to a bone, muscle, ligament, or tendon caused by repetitive stress without allowing time for your body to heal. As young athletes grow, they are more vulnerable to traumatic and overuse injuries because their bones are weaker than their ligaments and tendons. Also, growing bones are less resilient to stress.
Young athletes want to play their sport all the time, yet they are not aware of the risks that come into play. Since young athletes may not know the signs or symptoms of having an overuse injury, I thought it would be a good idea to share!
There are 4 stages of overuse injuries:
- Pain in the affected area after physical activity
- Pain during physical activity, not restricting performance
- Pain during physical activity, restricting performance
- Chronic, persistent pain, even at rest
It is important to have your athletes be aware of these symptoms, and to ensure they let someone know that they’re experiencing them. In order for your athletes to prevent being injured, we found some tips to help!
What can you recommend your athletes to prevent overuse injuries:
- Maintain a good fitness level pre-season and off-season!
- Play smart! Try a variety of sports, but only sign up for one sport per season!
- Recover! Take one day a week to relax mentally and physically.
- Try different types of endurance workouts, whether they’re general or sport specific!
- Listen to your body – if you feel tired or overwhelmed, tell your parents or your coach!
Strategies to prevent general injuries:
- Have a proper warm up!
- Make sure you have proper technique!
- Drink a lot of fluids before and after exercising or a game!
- Stretch before and after exercising or a game!
- Play safe!
As your athletes grow, keep in mind that they are more prone to injuries. As a coach, I’m sure you would want your athlete to be as healthy and successful as possible! To ensure injury prevention, know your athlete. Have an idea of what works for them and what doesn’t, and build your relationship with them so they are more open to letting you know if they feel any pain! Lastly, follow our tips and make your athletes aware and educated!
Nikki de Ocampo is the Domestic Development Intern at Canada Basketball. She is currently pursuing her Health Sciences Degree in Kinesiology and Health Promotion at Sheridan College, and has a passion for holistic health and wellness.