Back-to-school can be a stressful time! Getting back into the routine of early mornings, full days in class, homework and practice for your favorite sport after school – is tough after a summer off. As your kids prepare to head into the business of the Fall, here are some tips for staying safe, happy, and healthy.
It gets hot under padding and helmets, but protective gear can save your life, or at least prevent serious injury. Even if you’re playing for fun and not for competition, always wear the proper protective gear for your sport. Helmets for biking; helmets, knee, elbow, and wrist pads for skateboarding or rollerblading; shin guards for soccer; batting helmets for softball or baseball; the list goes on. All of this gear was designed to protect your bones and organs from injury upon a collision with either a person or an object. A safe but sweaty skull is far better than a fractured one after a bike crash.
Hydration is critical no matter the season, but especially coming out of the hot summer months. Water helps cushion your joints and protects organs and tissue; without enough of it, you’re more prone to cramps, injury, and even medical emergencies. Before performing any physical activity, drink fluids throughout the days prior (not just a large amount right before activity) and drink water consistently during activity. Bring extra water with you, or make sure water is easily accessible wherever you choose to play. Pay attention when swimming, especially; it’s not as easy to tell when you’re sweating, and cramps, dizziness, or weakness while swimming can lead to drowning. If you develop a headache, start feeling weak, dizzy, or nauseated, or notice your urine is dark in color, sit in the shade or in an air conditioned space, and drink water. Recover electrolytes with a sports drink. If you faint, develop a fever, or are struggling to regain energy after taking a break and drinking water, please see a doctor immediately: you may need to receive fluids intravenously.
Remember when, as a child, you were required to bring a “buddy” with you if you needed to go somewhere out of eyesight of an adult? It feels silly to suggest the same rules apply as an adult, but they do. If you’re engaging in physical activity of any kind – whether hiking, biking, running, or anything else – bring a buddy. They could save your life with a much-needed water bottle, or a rescue call.
As always, make safe choices when working your body during the fall. Always bring plenty of water to any activity, even if it’s not an athletic one. Make sure everyone has padding and protection that is well-secured and properly fitted. Keep an eye out for symptoms of heat-related illnesses or injuries, and follow proper care instructions. Sideline Orthopedics is open no matter the season. If you have an orthopedic injury, make an appointment or stop by our walk-in hours at any of our three clinics. We’d be happy to help you get back on the field!