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Are youth sports doing more harm than good?


Young athletes are vulnerable to heat-related injuries such as dehydration because they produce more heat, sweat less, and don't drink enough while they exercise.
Young athletes are vulnerable to heat-related injuries such as dehydration because they produce more heat, sweat less, and don't drink enough while they exercise.
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Exercise is important for everyone, for overall health and fitness. The problem is that sports can also lead to injuries if you are not careful. Sports injuries in teens are inherent but preventable, and the benefits of a supervised training program outweigh potential risks. Teens are especially at risk for injuries related to overdoing sports activities, as well as the risks of not using protective gear, unsupervised training and improper technique. Some signs of stress and overuse include shoulder and elbow pain, back pain and knee pain. Methods of diagnosis and treatment vary, as does the recovery time from the various injuries. Treatment may include complete rest and gradual return to the sport.

A popular youth sport is strength training. A supervised training program can be beneficial to any teen, as preparation toward a healthy body and lifestyle. Strength training can protect the body from sports injuries by increasing muscle and bone strength, as well as developing endurance. Like any sport, improper technique can have harmful results. Teens need to know their limits, and an experienced training coach can help build an age-appropriate training program.

Outdoor sports played in the heat can be especially dangerous for teens. Young athletes are vulnerable to heat-related injuries such as dehydration because they produce more heat, sweat less, and don't drink enough while they exercise. Dehydration can lead to heat stroke and heat exhaustion, as well as cramps. These heat-related problems can be prevented. Teens are advised to begin gradually, to get the body used to exercising in hot and humid conditions. Teens should avoid intense physical activity for extended periods and they should pay attention to wearing proper clothing. Teens should know that they have to drink plenty of fluids, even if they aren't thirsty. Parents, teens, and coaches should recognize the early signs of physical stress and dehydration, and teens should know when to stop.


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