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Fall sports and youth athletes: don't let injuries get in the way

Fall sport season is here! Portland-area schools and clubs kickstart tryouts, daily doubles, and pre-season practices begin this month. Adidas employees and all family members on the Aetna insurance plan can take advantage of physical therapy services at the Village Gym, and now at Montgomery Park clinic location.

Young athletes have many things to contend with during this critical time of the season: managing the rigors of intense practice schedules, performance expectations, and the August heat. Even if an athlete has maintained a good level of fitness during the spring and early summer, injuries during this time of year are common. Below, we've provided a few simple things that can be done to decrease injury risk.

  • Get at least 8 hours of sleep each night. This probably isn’t new information for most readers, but its importance to athletes, especially teens, likely is. A study on sleep and teen athletes found that those who get less than 8 hours of sleep at night are twice as likely to get injured than those who get more than 8 hours. In addition to reducing injury risk, other studies have shown that getting adequate sleep can also help improve performance. For more about sleep, check out this blog by Australian physiotherapist Mick Hughes.

  • Maintain adequate hydration. Drinking plenty of water while being active is extremely important for performance and health especially during the heat of the summer. Being dehydrated can amplify muscle fatigue, which can increase your risk for injury. A good rule of thumb is to drink 0.5-1.0 ounces of water per pound of body weight each day (example: a 150-pound athlete should drink 75-150 ounces of water per day). Check out this article to learn more about hydration in young athletes.

  • Properly warm-up. Many organized sports already incorporate dynamic warm-up routines into their practices and competitions. If not, take the time to go through a warm-up on your own; Ryan and Jon at Village Physical Therapy can teach you a good routine anytime! Research has shown that classic “static” stretching done beforehand does not decrease injury risk in athletes, so is usually not necessary. Stretching after training or playing can be beneficial to manage muscle soreness.

If an athlete does pick up an injury, Village Physical Therapy can help with screening/diagnosis, and any necessary treatment. For our patients at Adidas, all employees and any family members on their insurance plan can take advantage of physical therapy services at the main campus and at Montgomery Park. All other readers can make an appointment at our independent practice in NE Portland. For more information and to schedule an appointment online, visit our website.

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