Playing sports as a child and as a teen can be a great experience, a chance to make friends, build teamwork and leadership skills, and just have a good time. Unfortunately, all sports have the potential for injury, and one of America’s favorite sports, football, also involves an incredibly high rate of sports injuries. No parent wants to see their child going through acl repair surgery, but we also do not do not want to take away their opportunities because we are afraid. Collaborating with coaches to instate some prevention techniques can be an effective middle ground.
- Consistent strength training: One of the most common injuries to football players is damaging the acl, and acl repair and recovery is no minor undertaking. However, when sports medicine specialists are consulted, they do suggest specific strength training methods, such as jumping rope, as an effective means of prevention.
- Tackle with the head up, not helmet leading: If you watch the news, you know concussions are being proven to be a much larger threat than previous general consensus had maintained. Of course, there is no way to prevent the head ever being hit in a sport like football, but at the very least can insist on training to prevent it where possible.
- Warm ups and cool downs, including stretching: Many ills can be prevented with appropriate stretching, and shoulder injuries, which are the 5th most common sports injury for high school players, becomes much less likely when the body is cared for correctly before and after both games and practice.
It is not possible to prevent all harm from reaching our children, nor should we try. Through adversity people learn and grow and become better versions of themselves. However, there is a difference between not smothering my child and needing to call an orthopedic surgeon to schedule acl reconstruction.