Autumn has arrived and with it a flurry of activity, kids back to school and the restarting of all their activities both in and out of school.
For the vast majority of kids there will have been a period of rest away from sport, if not completely, then certainly a reduction in the quantity and consistency.
The third week of September is the most common time for sporty kids to get injured.
The sudden increase in volume of sport ⚽️🏈🏊♀️🏑- school trials, external club trials, new sports etc can all contribute to an amount of loading, a growing child sometimes can’t cope with and they get injured with sore feet, knees and shins.
As adults generally we make a plan when we start exercising to increase over a period of weeks and months to give our bodies time to adapt and get stronger. Children need this too but often this is overlooked.
Children and adolescents still need a plan as to how much they are going to do each week, how hard each session should be and to make sure they are getting enough fuel and rest to allow their bodies time to adapt.
It has been demonstrated in many research papers than children and adolescents getting less than 8 hours of sleep per night are at a higher risk of developing sports injuries.
Sleep🛏️ 💤 is when the body repairs damaged cells, builds new muscles💪🏻, processes new skills learned, boosts immunity and recharges.
Childhood overuse injuries occur not because they do too much sport but because they do too much too quickly. When the amount of exercise and therefore loading is greater than the body is used to, the body reacts by laying down extra new bone 🦴and muscle as reinforcement, however this process takes time to become tough enough to withstand the increased loading.
Athletes of all ages can cope with very high volumes and activity and loading IF their bodies are given enough time to make those adaptions
Sit down and make a plan together, gradually increase the amount of sport over the next few weeks, look out for weeks where there could be a big spike in activity and plan accordingly.
(Helen Jermy is an current member of the WAVAC committee)