Overdoing athletics may cause lifelong injuries

As spring slowly arrives at Radford University, many students will be taking part in athletic activities, but sometimes the cost is much greater than a new pair of running shoes.

athletes
Athletes push themselves to the limit for their coaches and their fans. Photo by Carina Garcia.

Young baseball or softball pitchers often strain their arms and shoulders when pitching. According to Science Daily, “In most children up to age 16, bones, muscles and connective tissues are not fully developed, so it should come as no surprise that the pitching motion can lead to injury if it is performed too frequently.” Parents should encourage their kids not to overdo it, even if they’re good at the sport.

“In a new, 10-year study published in the February issue of the American Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers showed that participants who pitched more than 100 innings in a year were 3.5 times more likely to be injured,” says another article.

Perhaps the reason so many children are getting injured while playing sports is their competitive nature. Children are encouraged to compete to win; it’s not all about how you play the game anymore. There are scholarships, parental bragging rights, awards and much more on the line.

There are other obvious ways to prevent sports related injuries. You should make sure your diet is nutritious and you’re getting enough of a variety of nutrients. Athletes also require more protein than non-athletes, and often, “gain most from the amount of carbohydrates stored in the body.”

Even more obvious is the correct use of safety equipment. Make sure you’re wearing a helmet if you should be. Brain trauma can be caused by any impact on your head, or even just a quick turn or sudden stop. “You don’t have to be going fast, fall far or hit your head hard to suffer lasting damage,” according to Rush University Medical Center.

Water is also very important for athletes. Even though some people don’t consider water a nutrient, it is the most vital nutrient a human can consume. “Normally, we lose about 2 1/2 cups of water per day simply by evaporation from the skin and by regular breathing,” according to American Fitness Professionals and Associates.

“Besides being a medium for cellular processes that occur in the body, water is the main component of blood, which is responsible for transporting nutrients and oxygen to tissues of the body. Water is also important for dissipating heat through evaporation from the skin. In addition to the role of water in survival, athletic performance can be compromised by only slight changes in hydration status,” says the AFPA.

Abiding by all these rules can be a tricky balancing act, but it’s entirely possible. With new discoveries in physical therapy and medicine, the chances of healing from a sports related injury are greater than ever. Regardless, sports related injuries still plague many teens and follow them for the rest of their lives. Make sure not to overdo it when enjoying yourself this spring so that you can continue to play sports for the rest of your life.