The experts at Summit Orthopedics provide lacrosse injury prevention tips in their QUICKGuide to prevent injuries and stay safe during the sport.
Weigh the risks of year-round play
Overuse injuries are a growing concern among sports medicine physicians nationally as more and more young athletes feel pressure to choose one sport and focus year-round in order to have a chance to be competitive. As a parent you want what’s best, and you need to know there are significant risks for injury with this choice. Here are the best alternatives to year-round one-sport play: allow for an off-season either with a different sport or a break entirely from organized sports that is more general fitness and activity oriented.
Protect those knees, please
ACL injuries are a common injury in lacrosse. ACL stands for Anterior Cruciate Ligament and it serves as a stabilizing structure in the knee. Minimize the risk for injury by focusing on muscle balance. The knee relies on much more than just the ligaments for stability, balanced strength in the leg muscles means more protection for the ligaments in the knee. Front (quad) to back (hamstring and gluts) and left vs. right legs, the athlete should be equally focusing on training each muscle group.
It’s all about the core
So much of an athlete’s overall stability comes from a strong core. The core is the group of major and minor muscles that wraps around the midsection, and by focusing on strength, proper posture in this area an athlete can improve performance while helping decrease the risk of injury.
There is no such thing as a “concussion-proof” helmet
Take the time to really understand the signs and symptoms and what to do if you suspect a concussion, and then teach your child. Remember, you don’t have to lose consciousness to have a concussion. Know what a helmet can and cannot do: a helmet cannot prevent concussions, they were designed to prevent catastrophic injury and skull fractures. As parents, make sure your coaches have an emergency plan in place and have been educated about how to best spot these types of injuries. If a concussion is suspected, the athlete should not return to play until evaluated by a medical professional familiar with concussion management. Learn more at https://www.cdc.gov/headsup/index.html.
Antoinette Hook, OTR/L, CHT, Hand Therapy Manager
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