Reducing the risk of injury in high school athletes

October 09, 2017 | by Carol Teteak, M.S.
Categories: Healthy Driven Life

Based on 2016 statistics from the National Federation of State High School Associations, there are almost 8 million high school students participating in athletics across the country. Every year — for 27 consecutive years — that number rises considerably.

Unfortunately, about 2 million of these students incur an injury. The most common sites of injury are the head, knee, foot/ankle, shoulder and elbow. Can sport injuries be prevented in our teen athletes? There are certainly ways to reduce the risk.

One way is to have your teen meet with a fitness professional who is armed with the proper knowledge and tools to help. The goals of many fitness programs for athletes are to improve functional movement, enhance performance, heighten body awareness, and reduce the risk of injury during practice and play.

As a personal trainer who works with athletes of all types, my job is to provide a safe and effective program that will benefit the athlete. Here are two things to keep in mind when choosing a fitness program for your teen athlete:

  1. The program is only as efficient as the information gathered from the athlete, and only as effective as adhered to by the athlete. The questions asked and the assessments performed during the initial meeting are crucial. It’s important that your teen provides accurate answers to the questions asked during the initial assessment.

  2. Research has proven that traditional strength and conditioning exercises don’t always properly prepare the athlete for the rigors of their sport, nor correct any weaknesses, imbalances or tightness that may contribute to a future injury. Try to find a program that is comprehensive, systematic and fully integrated to help your teen develop functional strength and neuromuscular efficiency:
  • Functional strength is the ability of the musculoskeletal system to efficiently and effectively produce force, reduce force and dynamically stabilize the body during movement.
  • Neuromuscular efficiency is the ability of the central nervous system to allow the muscles to work interdependently during dynamic athletic activities.

Edward-Elmhurst Health & Fitness creates and administers specialized programming for both individuals and teams to help reduce the risk of athletic injuries. We offer:

  • Functional Sport Assessment (FSA): Available all year long, the FSA allows observation of body sites commonly prone to injury in youth and teen athletes through a series of performance tests. Functional status is reported along with training recommendations. $40.00 for athletes ages 12-18. Learn more.
  • Personal Training: A highly-qualified trainer will work with the athlete to create a safe and effective program to meet performance needs and goals. There are a variety of training packages available for both members and non-members. Learn more.
  • Team Training: Special pricing is available based on participants, amount of training days and length of training sessions. Contact our fitness coordinator for more details. Learn more.

Learn more about Edward-Elmhurst Health & Fitness.

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