The importance of hydration for good health and properly functioning body systems cannot be overstated. As the warmer months approach and outdoor activities increase, special attention needs to be given to proper hydration and to the prevention of health illnesses. To prevent dehydration in young athletes, it is importance to drink plenty of fluids before, during and after a workout. An athlete’s performance can be impacted by even mild dehydration. An athlete can be at risk if they do not get enough fluids to replace what is lost through the skin as sweat and through the lungs while breathing. The majority of youth athletes are dehydrated before they start playing sports. Dehydration in athletes may also lead to fatigue, poor performance, decreased coordination, and muscle cramping.
So, how much water should young athletes drink? It depends! Water intake is based on several variables, and will vary according to the needs of the individual athlete. General considerations of hydration might be based on the length of the activity, environmental conditions such as heat and humidity, the length and intensity of the practice or game, and the gear the athlete may be wearing, such as football or hockey gear. Proper hydration is helpful for achieving the best performance in athletes. Adequate fluid intake is also helpful for recreational exercisers to exercise at their best. The American College of Sports Medicine provides guidelines for athletes regarding proper hydration and fluid replacements. Check out ACSM website for more information on hydration guidelines… http://www.acsm.org/docs/brochures/selecting-and-effectively-using-hydration-for-fitness.pdf
Water should be readily available and consumed before, during and after a practice or game.
Sports drinks are good for activities lasting longer than 90 minutes to replace sugar and salt as well as water.
Don’t like the taste of water? Try mixing fresh fruit or lemon wedges to naturally flavor your water.
What is a Concussion?
Concussions have become a hot button topic not only on the playing fields across the country but in the media as well. While the extra attention can certainly increase awareness, misinformation can lead to an incomplete picture and the inability to separate fact from fiction. This post will be dedicated to describing and how the injury most commonly occurs.
First a definition; a concussion is most often referred to as a mild traumatic brain injury. However, there is not currently a consensus definition for this injury. An athlete with a concussion who is subjected to an MRI or CT scan does not usually present with “brain damage,” or any visible signs of bruising or bleeding. Our inability to accurately see the “damage” can sometimes lead to an incorrect and incomplete diagnosis. This does not change the fact that even though an injury is not visible a concussion can lead to impairment in one or more areas of the brain which can affect balance, coordination, speech, memory, and visual system.
A concussion can be caused in a number of different ways, but ultimately occurs when the brain rapidly moves back and forth, subsequently striking the inside of the skull. The most common mechanism is a direct blow to the head from another player, a piece of equipment like a soccer ball or lacrosse stick, or contact between the player’s head and the ground. A less common way is from an indirect blow. This could be caused by a blow to the body which forces the head to violently snap back or rotate. It is very important to note that a concussion DOES NOT always come from a direct blow to the head.
If an athlete is suspected of suffering a concussion during competition she should be removed from play immediately and not allowed to return until she has been evaluated by an appropriate medical professional. We will be presenting the most common signs and symptoms to look for in an upcoming post. Stay tuned…
KNEE VALGUS: what is it, what causes it, how do we fix it?
The knee is one of the most often injured joints, especially among the athletic population. One potential cause of this is a valgus position at the knee, which occurs when the knee collapses in toward the midline, or center of the body.
This can be pretty problematic as its been linked to ACL injuries and knee pain. The vast growing body of evidence associates excessive knee valgus to hip muscle weakness, and more specifically, to poor motor control and body awareness at the hip. Therefore it is important to address hip impairments to benefit the knee’s integrity as to promote injury prevention.
Furthermore it is paramount for athletes, especially female athletes, to assess and improve her hip mechanics to prevent knee valgus. This can be done with a slow motion analysis of an individual’s knee positioning. The health care provider is watching to see if the athlete’s knees turn in toward each other, past the big toe or for any unsteadiness and or trunk lean. These are positions the athlete wants to attempt to avoid. The body will naturally react to the bad forces to retrain the muscle and brain to perform in the correct movement pattern.
Welcome to our new weekly blog series!
Kinetic Physical Therapy’s Adolescent Sports Medicine Program was founded to address the rehabilitation unique to the adolescent athlete. Understanding that athletes require a different approach, the Adolescent Sports Medicine Program applies the best evidence when designing sport-specific rehabilitation and injury prevention programs. These programs aim to educate athletes on his or her injury, the importance of a dynamic warm-up prior to participation, implement exercises to combat injuries, and discuss other strategies to keep the athlete healthy and on the field. In addition to this, Kinetic Physical Therapy has a host of other services available to the athlete including: sports nutrition, Functional Movement Screens, and ImPACT concussion testing.
The goal of these posts is to keep the athlete, parent, and coach informed on important topics in sports. We will address sports performance, nutrition, the mental aspect of sport, when to seek out a physical therapist for a consultation or evaluation, provide injury prevention strategies that the athlete can implement immediately, and dive in to specific injuries and our approach to managing them. All of this information drives us towards our ultimate goal, to keep athletes pain-free and on the field.