Preventing youth sports injuries

Youth Athlete Program at Carr Elite

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - The fall season is a time when many kids are active in sports around Kern County, but it's also a time when students are more prone to sports-related injuries. 

"We've seen a growing number of Tommy Johns surgeries, ACL, MCL all these things are happening a lot sooner in life for these kids because they are starting so soon and they are specializing in one sport, which skyrockets your risks for those injuries", said Eric Mahanke director and head strength coach at Carr Elite. 

Mahanke has worked alongside top athletes like David Carr and Cody Kessler. He said, injuries happen when a child is making the same repetitive motion, which is why playing one sport can be dangerous. 

"I would play as many sports as you, I can say you can start specializing in a sport your sophomore year in the high school if you find out you're good at a sport, understand that a college scholarship is a less than 1% chance and professional is less than that," said Mahanke.

His message to parents is that kids should have fun playing sports and says that it's important to leave time between sports for kids to play and have fun. "Make sure that your kid is creating their own games at home and with their friends," said Mahanke. 

Pediatric sports medicine expert R. Jay Lee at John Hopkins Medicine posted an article on how to prevent sports injuries in kids and teens on the hospital website. Here are Dr. Lee's ten injury prevention tips for your children, for the full article visit this link:

  1.  Talk with your young athlete about the speaking up if they are experiencing pain. Dr. Lee said, “But some kids are tough and just push through pain, which can lead to a more serious condition that could have been prevented with early intervention.”
  2. Get a physical before preseason to make sure parents and coaches aware of any conditions that need to addressed, treated or watched. 
  3. Encourage several sports and cross-training to change up routine to prevent stress and over-use of muscles and joints. 
  4. Stretch and warm up before starting an activity or sport.  
  5. Rest between practices, games and other activities to give kids a chance to recuperate and prevent injury from fatigue. 
  6. Have a healthy and well-balanced diet, full of vegetables and lean proteins.
  7. Stay hydrated and have plenty of water before, during and after play. 
  8. Make sure you have protective equipment and that everything is fitted correctly. 
  9. Learn the proper technique and the correct way of performing your activity. 
  10. Report injuries as soon as they happen. 

Mahanke says that if your child is injured to make sure that you go straight to the best care needed and assume an injury is worse than it is. 

If you are interested in healthy recipes for you and your family Mahanke's wife, Anaime Mahanke, is a certified health coach and posts recipes on her instagram: Mahanke Method

Print this article Back to Top