With the end of summer comes the start of fall sport season for many school-aged kids.  Practices and games for football, soccer, basketball, volleyball, and field hockey are in full swing and kids nationwide are suiting up to play.  Unfortunately, that also means they are at risk for sports-related injuries.  

Statistics from the Consumer Product Safety Commission show that in 2012, emergency room doctors treated about 1.2 million football-related injuries, almost 630,000 soccer injuries, and more than 178,000 volleyball-related injuries.

“Not all injuries can be prevented, however many can be avoided,” said orthopaedic surgeon and American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons spokesperson Brett D. Owens, MD. “All athletes, from grade school and high school students to weekend enthusiasts, should take proper safety precautions before embarking on a high-impact, seasonal sports program. These include warming up before practice, staying in shape during the off season, and staying hydrated, especially in the heat of August and early September.”

Here are more tips for staying safe in the field and on the court:

Start early.  Health experts recommend that kids start amping up their workout program at least one month before sports season begins.  

Cross train. Running, swimming, and cycling are all excellent workouts that can help your kids get ready to play.

Watch out for overtaining.  Playing a sport more than 20 hours per week can really increase a kids' chances for injury.  Keep an eye out for the signs of overtraining such as irritability, difficulty sleeping, or a sudden decrease in perforance.

For more tips on keeping kids safe at play, check out: Keep sports safe for kids as well as these related MNN posts:

Tackling fall sports safely
Protect kids from injury in the field or on the court with these tips for fall sports safety.