Back to school and we all know what that means; our young athletes are diving back into their respective sports. We know that proper education and conditioning is imperative to help these young athletes maintain their health and reach their desired performance levels. The pressure put on these athletes is unreal, and many will specialize in one sport for the entire year. By doing the same sport for the entire year, many athletes are experiencing repetitive strain injuries by putting stress on the same muscles over and over. Massage has great benefits in helping with stiffness and soreness in muscles and can speed up recovery times. An added benefit is stress management; massage can also help young athletes manage their stress.
Dr. Jayanthi, who presented this data last year at the American Academy of Pediatrics conference, studied more than 1,200 young athletes, and found that lower back injuries were the third most common injury in athletes younger than 18, after knees and ankles.
He made a few suggestions for parents to help prevent and reduce the risk of injury. First, do not have these athletes specialize in just one sport before adolescence. Second, diversify the types of sports they play throughout any given year. There is so much pressure to stay competitive, and it is an added stress to these athletes and can have adverse effects on their bodies. So third, be sure your young athlete participates in unorganized play as well.
Consider massage therapy for your young athlete; here are some tips for parents to make this a therapeutic and comfortable experience. First, you may want to start with a shorter session time, maybe 30 to 45 minutes. Second, have your child dress in comfortable clothing so the therapist can go through range of motion, as well as passive and active stretching. Third, it may make your child more comfortable to choose a therapist of the same gender. A young boy may feel uncomfortable getting a massage from a female and vice versa. Last, the parent should consider being in the room while the athlete is receiving their massage treatment. This will make your child feel at ease if they have any apprehension about massage.
Please give us a call at The Therapy Centers if you have any questions, or to schedule your young athlete today. We are confident in sports massage and rehabilitation for athletes of all ages. We do require a legal guardian be present during the massage session and we must have a legal guardian consent form signed for all minors before a massage therapy session! We look forward to helping improve your young athletes performance by helping to keep them physically and mentally healthy. Call us today 859.443.4292!
Reference: American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Sports Medicine and Fitness. Sports Specialization in Young Athletes. Pediatrics. 2000;106:154-157