Help Your Young Athlete Stay Healthy

July 20 – 26 is National Youth Sports Week. The week serves to elevate the importance of youth sports across the nation.

More American kids are playing sports than ever before. It's great news—physical activity helps children stay fit and feel good about themselves.

But injuries can happen. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sports and recreation-related injuries are common. They send more than 2.6 million kids age 19 and younger to emergency departments each year.

Kids aren't small adults,” said Brett Gervais, DPT, Physical Therapist from Aspirus Health. “Their bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments are still growing. This means they're more susceptible to injury. However, there are ways to ensure your young athlete plays it safe.”

The right equipment can make all the difference. Make sure your child has the right protective gear for the sport and that the gear fits properly and is in good condition. Also, have your child work on flexibility before and after games and practices to help release muscle tension and prevent injury.

“It’s important to teach your child to listen to their body and avoid playing through pain,” said Gervais. “Kids should also take breaks during practice. And they should have at least one day off a week from playing sports so their bodies can recover.”

Before playing organized sports, your child should have a physical exam. A physician, nurse practitioner or qualified clinician can do this.

Overall, sports can help kids socially, emotionally and physically. Help your child stay safe and in the game.

Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital & Clinics now has two certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists (CSCS). This certification designates Brett Gervais, DPT, and Beau Dupuis, DPT as having and using specialized scientific knowledge to train athletes for the primary goal of improving athletic performance in addition to meeting their therapy goals.

Aspirus Health currently offers free 15-minute consultations with any physical, occupational or speech therapist. The consultations allow individuals to have an area or problem examined and to discuss whether therapy may be beneficial.

For more information on Outpatient Therapy, Strength and Conditioning or to schedule a consult visit  or call 906.337.7000.