Although being part of a football, soccer, or Little League team is an important rite of passage, parents and their young athletes could be overlooking the importance of proper nutrition and body-conditioning needed for preventing injuries.

1) Proper warm up, stretching and weight-lifting are essentials for kids involved in sports, but many kids learn improper techniques, making them more susceptible to injury. Young athletes should begin with a slow jog to warm-up the legs and arms, stretch all of the major muscle groups, and perform strengthening exercises for the abdomen and back muscles.

2) Proper nutrition and hydration are also extremely vital. A student athlete may need to drink eight to ten 8-ounce glasses of water for proper absorption. Breakfast should be the most important meal of the day. Also eating a healthy meal before and after practice or a game allows for proper replenishment and refuels the body. Athletes should avoid sugar-loaded, caffeinated and carbonated drinks (energy drinks). Drink milk. Take vitamins daily and maintain a healthy weight.

3) Get plenty of rest. Eight hours of sleep is ideal. Sluggishness, irritability, loss of interest and decreased performance could indicate that your child is fatigued.

4) Wear the proper equipment. Certain contact sports, such as football and hockey, can be dangerous if the equipment is not properly fitted.

Talk to your Chiropractor to learn more about how to prevent sports injuries.

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