At first glance, having your teen join a year-round competitive sports team may seem like the perfect way to kill two birds with one stone—it prevents your teen from turning into a couch potato hooked on texting and Facebook, and it also offers teens the chance to excel in a chosen sport.
But before your teen signs up, know that teenagers’ bodies are particularly vulnerable to injury because their bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints are going through their most rapid growth period. The intensity and “no pain, no gain” philosophy of many competitive, year-round sports teams can result in serious injuries, some with lasting effects.
Help your teen enjoy a safe (rather than sore) season by making sure:
- Your teen is properly prepared to play.
- Your teen avoids playing the same sport year-round.
- Your teen never plays if in pain.
Here are my answers to common questions from parents of teen athletes.