When your teenage child decides to pursue high school football, you may feel simultaneously proud of them for having such ambitions and worried about possible injuries and how they can affect your child's health. Before you panic and try to fight them on their desire to play football, get to know some of the more common football injuries that your teen may deal with and how those injuries can be best prevented and treated. Then, you will be able to embrace your child's interest in football while also protecting their health and well-being at the same time.
Concussions and Head Injuries
In spite of the fact that football players wear helmets and protective pads, head injuries are still a common issue. However, compared to years past where the professional football leagues and even the college and high school levels did not acknowledge the reality of concussions, now there is a much greater awareness and concern.
One of the ways that concussions can be avoided in football is to ensure that your child knows how to protect themselves. For example, if they are a defensive player, they should never lead with their head or try to hit someone with their helmet. This can injure your child as well as the other player. Your child should also always be aware of what they are doing and avoid hits or situations that could lead to injury as much as possible.
If your child does get hit in the head or suffer any kind of head or neck injury, it is important that they get checked out by a trainer as soon as it occurs. This means they need to stop playing until they are cleared and prove that they are not showing any signs of concussion. The purpose of this is to ensure that they do not suffer further injury and that if they do have a concussion, they get immediate treatment from a sports medicine doctor or emergency medical services.
When it comes to football pads and protection, one area of the body that is left vulnerable is the knees. As such, knee injuries are extremely common among football players. ACL and PCL tears are the most common knee injuries and can be devastating to young football players. They tend to derail sports careers and require extensive surgeries, physical therapy, and recovery times.
However, there are ways to prevent them. Strengthening the muscles surrounding the knee joint can help to protect these types of knee injuries. It is important to encourage your child athlete to participate in off-season weight training regimens to keep those muscles strong and supple. Additionally, flexibility is important to prevent tears in the ACL and PCL. If you can, get your child signed up for a yoga class designed specifically for athletes to target those areas that commonly get injured in sports.
If your child does hurt their knee, an immediate visit to a sports medicine specialist will be the key to ensuring that a minor strain or sprain does not become a major, life-altering issue. Resting the knee, icing it, and using over-the-counter pain killers for a few days can also work wonders. While your child may not want to take a day or two off from practice, it is necessary to protect their knee and prevent a longer or permanent hiatus from football.
Now that you know a few of the most common football injuries that your teen football player could suffer from and how to both prevent and treat them, you can better prepare yourself to support and care for your child as they pursue football in high school.
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