Coach and Athletic Director

July/August 2017

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44 J U L Y / A U G U S T 2 0 1 7 SPORTS MEDICINE SPOTLIGHT caring for athletes It's that time of year. Spring sports have wrapped up, the school year has ended and summer begins. As athletes continue to balance their sports schedules during the next few months through a variety of tournaments, summer leagues and club organizations, many physicians and clinicians have concerns about this level of sport specialization. Here are a few suggestions when transitioning into the summer months. 1 Make time for injury prevention. Come summertime, athletes and their families are able to schedule their practices, games, vacations, camps and other various activities. What about scheduling workouts? Depending on the age of the athlete, this could be as simple as bodyweight exercises or as advanced as collegiate weightlifting. Ultimately, it needs to happen. I like to point out that an athlete would never go without practicing because it's essential to improving their skills. To this same end, an athlete should strengthen and stretch the appropriate muscles because it improves the function of their body, which, in return, also improves their skills. Research supports dynamic-movement based muscular fitness training for neurological training, motor skill acquisition, enhancing motor performance and reducing sport-related injuries. 2 .Enjoy recreational play. Research consistently proves .that focusing on one sport at a young age can be too much for the body. Performing movements that differ from a specific sport are more likely to reduce the young athlete's risk of injury. It's important for kids to enjoy neighborhood games such as tag, kick the can and other games. In recreational play, kids also don't have to worry about getting benched or other concerns they might have in interscholastic sports. 3 .Drink enough water. With the summer months comes .intense heat. Athletes often neglect drinking enough water, especially when there may be clouds in the sky or a light breeze. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests coaches, athletic directors and other staff should "provide and promote consumption of readily accessible fluids at regular intervals before, during and after activity to offset sweat loss and maintain adequate hydration while avoiding overdrinking." Additionally, they suggest roughly 3 to 8 ounces every 20 minutes for 9- to 12-year-olds and up to 34 to 50 ounces per hour for adolescents to minimize sweat- induced body-water deficits during exercise. By Jen Morse, columnist five summer TIPS FOR ATHLETES

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