Participation in sports offers tremendous social, emotional, and physical benefits for children. We know that one of the worst things for kids is being on the sidelines with an injury. As parents and coaches, there are simple things we can do to help reduce preventable injuries – so our kids can continue playing the games they love.
While there are amazing benefits to having children participate in sports, it is definitely critical to prepare children properly. The risk of injury can be greatly reduced, by educating ourselves and our children how to treat their bodies when playing sports, and what we need to be on the look for as parents and coaches.
Prior to your kiddos hitting the field, be sure to bring them into their physician for a sports physical. Doing this can help detect any concerns that may cause more serious conditions if proper precautions aren’t taken.
If there are any health conditions that a coach needs to be aware of, such as asthma, be sure the coach is made aware before the first practice or game.
Whether there are health concerns or not, it is a good practice to give the coach your emergency contact information in case any other sports related injuries occur.
This is something many players and coaches skip. Before exerting their bodies, children should do a light warm up, and then stretch out. Doing this can prevent serious injuries due to muscle tension.
It is advisable for coaches to oversee this, and can help to have a set warm up and dynamic stretching routine. This way children develop a habit of warm ups and stretching, and know that it is an essential activity before participating in sports!
While it is important to always stay hydrated, particularly in the Summer months, it is especially important when participating in sports and recreational activities.
Encourage kids to drink water to rehydrate 30 minutes before playing sports. Not only can your body become more easily exhausted if you’re not hydrated, but it increases the chances of muscle injuries.
During games and practices, coaches should incorporate water breaks in order for children to stay hydrated and reduce the risk of sport injuries. Whether it is practices or games, players should be rehydrating every 20 minutes during physical exercise. Be sure they are taking more than just a sip or two. To properly rehydrate an 88 pound child should be drinking 5 ounces every 20 minutes, and an older child around 135 pounds, should be drinking 9 ounces every 20 minutes.
If kids are unsure if they have been drinking enough water, you can teach them that their urine should be either clear, or only slightly yellow (like lemonade).
If at any point a player feels light-headed, dizzy, or nauseous in the heat, they should be moved to a shaded area. Then make sure any unnecessary equipment is removed, and give them cold water. If symptoms do not dissipate, seek medical attention.
Instilling a strong communication triangle between player, parent, and coach is vital to helping maintain a player’s health. It will also help in preventing both mild and serious injuries alike.
Sometimes, in fear of not being able to continue to play in a game, kids will not communicate to parents or coaches if they are not feeling well. This is also true when they believe they may have injured themselves. Make sure to have a conversation with your children with the importance of speaking up when they are not feeling well.
Making sure your child wears proper safety equipment can prevent serious injuries. Just wearing equipment isn’t enough. You need to make sure things such as helmets are also fitted correctly. If you’re playing baseball and a helmet falls off while running it will not do much good in preventing an injury.
A common misunderstanding is that a child will be knocked unconscious if they have suffered a concussion. This is not always the case. It is fairly common for a child to “brush it off” and keep playing because they don’t realize the severity of their injuries.
Coaches and parents should participate in learning CPR and First AId so they can recognize these types of sports injuries. A child should not continue to play if it is believed they may have suffered from a concussion, and should seek medical attention. If it is unclear if the player has suffered a concussion, it is best to not put them back in the game until they are cleared by a medical professional.
A Little R&R Goes a Long Way!
As players get older, it can be hard to make sure they are getting the rest they need. Making sure all their muscles are developing evenly can become a concern as well; particularly if they are playing the same sport year-round.
Players should be getting at least one to two days of rest each week. This gives their bodies the required time to recover before exerting muscles again.
It is also a good idea to have kids participate in different sports during different seasons; rather than playing the same sport all year around. Not only does this ensure well-rounded muscle development, but it also make kids well-rounded athletes!
Of course, whether you are an athlete or not, we always recommend regular chiropractic care. However, it is especially important for our pint size (and larger) athletes to receive regular chiropractic care. A chiropractor can ensure any minor traumas to the spine and body are corrected before they become more serious problems or injuries down the line.
When temperatures rise we tend to want to spend as much time outdoors as possible. High heat indexes can become treacherous though. Particularly, if you live in a warm, humid climate, like St. Louis.
-Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink! If you feel thirsty you have started to become dehydrated.
-Be sure children hydrate prior to outdoor activities, and continue to rehydrate every 20 minutes. Don’t wait for them to ask for a drink.
-NEVER leave children or pets in closed, parked vehicles. It only takes a minute or two for temperatures inside vehicles to elevate to dangerous levels.
-When temps hit the high 90’s be sure to only be out for short amounts of time, before going into an air conditioned space to cool off. If your home isn’t air conditioned go to a public place that is air conditioned for a few hours. Even fans can’t prevent heat related illnesses.
-On high high heat days, try to schedule outdoor activities to morning and evening hours.
It’s super easy when you’re having fun in the sun to forget about protecting yourself from harmful rays. It only takes a small amount time to cause damage to your skin and eyes. This is important to remember, because approximately 3.3 million Americans are diagnosed with some form of skin cancer each year! So protect yourself!
-Be sure to apply sunscreen 30 minutes prior to exposure to the sun.
-Wear an SPF of at least 15
-Reapply sunscreen frequently! Every two hours is a good rule of thumb, but reapply more frequently if swimming, or sweating a lot.
-Remember that you can get a sunburn even if it’s cloudy outside.
Hikes and exploring are another fun filled way to spend your day! However, there are pesky critters, such as ticks, that you need to watch out for. Ticks are responsible for an array of diseases; the most commonly known being Lyme disease. Here are some things to do to avoid those pesky ticks.
-Wear protective clothing (i.e., long sleeves and pants when in wooded areas).
-When on hikes and walks stay on paths, and avoid going off the path into overgrown areas.
-Check for ticks on kiddos, and other family members daily.
One of the best parts of Summer are days at the pool, and weekends at the lake! Taking proper precautions will make it so that everyone can keep enjoying their weekend; without any unforeseen emergencies!
-Practice “touch supervision” (being within an arm’s length) with children who aren’t strong swimmers.
-Remember that given different circumstances, drowning can occur with adults and children alike.
-Get children into professional swimming lessons at a young age! Studies prove that children as young as one year of age are less likely to drown if they have taken swim lessons. Studies do not show evidence that it reduces drowning in infants under one. However, remember that nobody is drown-proof!
-Use life vests opposed to “swimmies”.Water wings provide a false sense of security, and can fall off children, leaving them susceptible to drowning.
Boating can be an awesome family activity in the Summer! Here are some things to consider prior to leaving the boat dock.
-Teach children the difference between swimming in a pool, and swimming in open water. Open water can have uneven surfaces, depth can vary greatly (making diving unsafe), and children need to be aware of possible currents, and undertows.
-Always have children wear a life jacket approved by the US Coast Guard when boating or participating in watersports.
-Check life jackets for proper fit. You can have children raise their arms straight up, into a touchdown position. If it hits their chin or ears, the jacket is either too big, or the straps need to be tightened.
-The US Coast Guard does not recommend to bring babies on boats. This includes kayaks, sailboats, motorboats, and canoes; until he weighs enough to properly fit into a life jacket. Car seats are a bad option for babies, in replacement of life jackets. Car seats are heavy, and will sink instantly if there is an accident.
Whether it’s a weekend at the lake, or the 4th of July, fireworks are an awesome way to end a hot Summer day. Fireworks can go from fun to disaster quickly though. Here a few things to remember.
-Attend firework displays that are being done professionally. It is not recommended to set off large fireworks on your own.
-Supervise children at all times. Even sparklers, which most people consider harmless, can reach up to 1,000 degrees fahrenheit!
-Fireworks can cause severe burns, blindness, and sometimes death.
First Aid Kits
Be sure to have a first aid kit handy, both at home, and in your car. Hopefully, you don’t have to use it, but better to be prepared! Cuts and scrapes are inevitable with little ones running around in the Summer.
The most important thing to remember
The most important thing to remember this Summer is to spend lots of quality time with your family! Enjoy the outdoors. Go swimming, go boating, take hikes, play outside; whatever it is you like to do, do it. It’s easy to get tied up in the day to day activities, and then before you know it, Summer is over. Of course, you should also make it a point to stop in for an adjustment after all that physical activity as well!
Many people are familiar with the children’s song, “Dem Bones”. You know the one.” The toe bone’s connected to the foot bone, the foot bone’s connected to the ankle bone”…and so on. Thinking of that song really makes me believe that everything I need to know I learned in kindergarten. Kindergarteners understand that everything in our body is connected, and has an effect on the rest of our body! Somewhere along the way though, we forget what we learned in kindergarten. It all of sudden becomes crazy that something wrong in “your back” could be affecting your stomach. This is why chiropractic is vital to your overall health, not just your back.
As you go about your day, your body is constantly sending messages to other parts of your body, in order to keep you functioning and alive. The central nervous system is the complex system of nerve tissues that control the body’s activities. Both your brain and your spinal cord are a part of this system.Your nervous system is your body’s communication system in essence. Without your nervous system parts of your body wouldn’t be able to communicate with each other to keep you breathing, digesting, and pumping blood through you.
The nervous system is so complex, that there are multiple systems within the nervous system itself. The most awe-inspiring is the autonomic nervous system. This system is responsible for all the things our body handles involuntarily; meaning that you don’t have to think about doing these functions; your body does it automatically! The autonomic nervous system (ANS), controls things like heart rate, digestion, respiratory rate. salivation, pupillary dilation, perspiration, and urination. Could you imagine if you had to stop in the middle of eating lunch and tell your brain, “I think I need more saliva to help me eat this food.” Or if you’re forgetful, it wouldn’t go well to have to tell your heart to pump, or remind yourself to breathe! Thankfully, our bodies just handle this on their own. Otherwise it would be really difficult to get anything done during the day.
I know, right now you’re thinking, “This is all fascinating, but why does this mean that my toe bone’s connected to my foot bone? And why does this mean chiropractic is vital to more than my back?” Great question!
If our bodies were a puppet show, our nervous system would be the puppet master; pulling all the strings, and making the show a success. The puppet master is the control system. With us, our nervous systems are the puppet masters, and our bodies functioning are the show. You see, when the brain sends messages to our organs, the message travels down through our spinal cord, out through our nerves, and then to our organs. This is how our organs know what to do, and function at 100%.
Now imagine that at the puppet show someone cut one of the strings on the puppet. What would happen? That part of the puppet attached to that specific string would stop working, right? The same thing happens in our bodies.
There are things that interfere with our nerves. Now, nobody is coming up to us and cutting our nerve, like the puppet master’s string; but falls, exercise, sports, sleeping wrong, poor posture, all of these things can cause vertebrae (bones in your spine) to move from their proper alignment. When they move, they can irritate and the nerves that run between the vertebrae. This causes a problem with our body’s communication system! Now when a message goes from the brain, to the spinal cord, to the nerve, that nerve can’t properly relay the communication to the attached organ. That nerve is now malfunctioning, and can cause that organ to malfunction. THIS is why chiropractic is vital to your overall health, and not just your back.
Why you need to get help
Leaving vertebral subluxations untreated can lead to a slew of problems; both minor and major. Think about it. All the other bodily systems are controlled by the nervous system: digestive, respiratory, circulatory, and even immune. So if the nerve that is meant to communicate with one of those systems can’t do so properly, that is a problem!
For example, did you know an improperly functioning nervous system is the cause of most allergies? This includes seasonal allergies, respiratory allergies and food allergies. How many people do you know with one or more of those?! As a matter of fact, you probably have at least one of those!
I hope this article helped you get back to your kindergarten self! Everything in your body is connected; even beyond your bones! The nervous system is an amazing puppet master, and we want everyone to see your best show. If you’ve been having allergies, stomach issues, headaches, of course back pain, or any other ongoing issue, schedule to see a chiropractor today! Chiropractors are the only health care professionals trained in detection, and correction, of vertebral subluxation. Let’s get this show on the road!
Did you know that until recently, soda was the most popular beverage in the US for nearly 2 decades? It wasn’t until soda started to be blamed for the rise in obesity that our old faithful friend, WATER, rose back to the top in 2013.
We NEED water to function properly. I think one of the reasons that people undervalue the necessity of water for their bodies, is because they don’t truly understand everything that their bodies rely on water to accomplish for them. If I were to ask someone if they wanted their body to be able to regulate their body temperature, digest food, and carry oxygen to their cells, I guarantee the answer would be yes! These are all important and necessary functions of the human body for survival.
In my practice in St. Louis, I often find that people do not drink enough water. When I tell them the amount that they should be drinking daily, I get a jaw dropping response from most people. It is actually really rare for me to find that someone consumes the recommended daily amount of water needed. The amount of water needed is a simple calculation. Drink half your bodyweight in ounces. As an example, a person that weighs 150 lbs should be drinking 75 ounces of pure water daily.
There are numerous things our bodies do everyday that cause us to lose fluids, and require a need to rehydrate ourselves. There are the obvious ones that occur when we are sick. For example, vomiting, diarrhea, and sweating. Of course, sweating is a function that occurs while sick, or well, but it does increase during bouts of illness.
Water is needed to form saliva in your mouth for digestion.
Water is also needed to break food down into smaller parts, to be used properly by the body—absorption of nutrients.
The brain needs water for the neurotransmitters and hormones needed throughout the body.
The body regulates temperature using water. This is another reason why it is essential to stay hydrated when you are sick.
There is water in the blood which helps deliver oxygen to all the tissues.
Water makes up the fluid that surrounds and cushions the brain and spinal cord.
Your joints need water to cushion and lubricate, in order to move properly.
Cells in the body need water to regenerate and grow.
It keeps the mucous membranes moist.
Fluids help to flush the waste products out of the body, that are naturally made in the body, and the toxins that we are exposed to daily.
Water is in Lymph. Lymph is the fluid that is part of your immune system.
Energy! Lack of water is the number one reason for daytime fatigue.
Given all of the functions water helps with, you can imagine the negative impact dehydration can cause to the body. We even need water to breathe properly. When fluids become scarce in our bodies, they try to limit the amount of fluid they lose to breathing!
Our bodies need humid air to breathe effectively. We need water in order for our mucous membranes to moisturize the air we breath before it hits our lungs. When our bodies become dehydrated, mucous membranes become drier. This leads to the lungs being more easily irritated by common allergens, such as, mold, dust, and cigarette smoke. Lack of moisture leads to dry, unproductive coughs, and further irritation to the lungs.
This is one of the reasons it is extremely important for people with allergies to consume enough water on a daily basis! Aside from allergens, dehydration also lowers the body’s immune response. This makes the body more prone to viruses and bacteria.
Many patients of mine, that follow the above recommendations for water, come back into my St. Louis office, and report that they have more energy, less pain, better looking skin, and better digestion.
Take the water challenge, and find a water bottle!
Preferably glass or BPA free plastic. Measure how many ounces, and figure out how many of them you need to drink in a day. With all the health benefits you gain by staying well hydrated, why not add more water to your day. Not to mention it is amazingly refreshing, and calorie free. I’d say water is a much better option than a soda, that will dehydrate your body, cause a sugar spike, and pack on 150 calories per can! (Remember, bathing suit weather is just around the corner.)
Water is the most essential element of survival!
Dr. Ryan and Dr. Jeanne Sandheinrich are a husband and wife team that have been active in the Kirkwood community for the last 5 years. Now they are opening a Chiropractic Wellness Center to serve Kirkwood and the surrounding communities treating infants to adults and everyone in between.
Dr. Ryan focuses on treating individuals with general back pain, headaches, and allergies. He uses general chiropractic and nutrition to help the body heal itself.
Dr. Jeanne focused her education on treating pediatrics and pregnant women, as well as general women’s health issues. She treats with low force chiropractic, acupuncture, and nutrition to balance the body’s nervous system for healing.
All families are welcome to come meet the doctors and see the new office. The first 20 families to come to the Open House will receive a complimentary children’s book. There will be light appetizers and water served all day, and a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at 11:30am. At 6pm there will be a wine toast. Come out and meet us!