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Tips for Playing Safe and Staying Injury Free This Summer

Knowledge, Preparation and Awareness Key to Avoiding Summer Sports Injuries

The summer is officially here and more people are playing sports and exercising outdoors. Experts from NYU Langone’s Center for Musculoskeletal Care (CMC) offer tips to avoid injuries during these warmer months.

“The warm summer weather draws people outdoors and young athletes are also often participating in competitive sports tournaments,”said Laith Jazrawi, MD, associate professor, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at NYU Langone, and chief of sports medicine at the CMC. “All these activities are important for the heart, lungs and muscles but people should remember to use some caution to avoid heat-related dangers as well as overuse injuries.”  Dr. Jazrawi offers tips to minimize the potential for these injuries during the summer, including:

  • Team up with your doctor.  Check with your doctor if you plan to play competitive athletics or start an exercise program in the summer, particularly if you have existing health concerns.
  • Heat and hydration.  Be aware of weather conditions and drink fluids prior to, during and after exercise or playing sports. Waiting until you are thirsty is often too late to properly rehydrate.
  • Warm up and cool down. Even in the summer months when the temperature starts to rise – it’s important to gently warm up the muscles and tendons before playing. It’s important to remember to give your body time to cool down before walking into a significantly different environment, such as an air conditioned building.
  • Concussion education. With millions of kids participating in competitive summer sports leagues, it’s a good time for parents to understand their role in preventing untreated or misdiagnosed concussions – often referred to by medical experts as mild traumatic brain injuries.  Parents and young athletes should know what concussions are, as well as their symptoms and policies of any organized sports program for dealing with one. If you suspect someone has sustained a concussion, they should immediately be removed from play.
  • Beware of overuse.  According to the CDC, more than five million kids under the age of 18 suffer a sports-related injury each year – with half of these due to overuse. Summer travel teams and tournaments can pressure young athletes to push themselves to excel and potentially over train. Cross-training, alternating sports from one season to another and taking a few weeks “off” from playing will help minimize these injuries.

NYU Langone is one of the nation’s premier academic medical centers and ranked among the top 10 in the country for the musculoskeletal specialties of orthopedics, rheumatology, and rehabilitation by U.S. News & World Report’s 2012-2013 “Best Hospitals” in America. For more information go to the Center for Musculoskeletal Care.

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