4 Ways Water Can Help Prevent Sports Injuries in Children

Health & Medical Articles

If your child is one of the over 36 million children who participates in sports, you may be included in the 87% of parents who worry about sports related injuries. It's important to understand that water plays a crucial role in your child athlete's health. Of course, keeping your child hydrated helps keep their body cool, but here are several other ways that water helps an athlete's body.

Water helps convert food into energy

Food is broken down in the stomach when it mixes with gastric acids and enzymes. The amount of acids in the stomach are diminished when someone is dehydrated, which can make it difficult for the foods to break down so they can be converted into energy. One thing that food breaks down into is glucose, which is then released into the bloodstream to be used or stored for energy.

The human body is two-thirds water, with 10% of the water being in the bloodstream, 70% being in the cells, and 20% being around the cells. When you are dehydrated, the bloodstream does not have enough water to carry glucose and nutrients throughout the body. The bloodstream then begins taking water from the cells and the spaces around the cells. This can result in a drop in blood pressure and lightheadedness. In extreme cases, the body can go into shock or coma.

Water provides fluid for joints

Water helps cushion joints. Without an adequate amount of fluid in their joints, your child would be susceptible to joint injuries, such as a torn anterior or posterior cruciate ligament in a knee or a torn rotator cuff in their shoulder. These types of injuries can be caused when the cartilage in the joints has been compromised by dehydration.

Joint injuries can sideline your athlete and, sometimes, joint injuries can lead to the need for surgeries to repair the damages to the joints. If surgery is not needed, sports injury physical therapy may be recommended. If your child complains of pain in their joints during or after the season, set them up with regular physical therapy appointments to help keep their joints in good shape.

Water provides cushioning for the brain

The brain and the spine are cushioned with cerebral spinal fluid. The brain produces the fluid and then the fluid flows out of the brain, into the spinal cord, and back into the brain where it is absorbed. This is a continuous process that can be diminished when your child is dehydrated. It's important to understand that a reduction in the amount of cerebral spinal fluid can make your child more susceptible to getting a concussion. The reason for this is due to a diminished cushioning affect, which can cause the brain to be injured when there is trauma to the head as the brain can get forced into the skull.

Water affects the body's reaction time

Research has proved that dehydration affects the body's reaction time. Of course, reaction time is important for game play in most sports. Your child's reaction time is what helps them to kick the soccer ball or swing the bat at the right time. When your child is dehydrated and their reaction time is slower than it should be, they could get injured, especially in high contact sports like football or sports that require perfect timing such as when the base of a cheer squad catches their flyer in a basket toss.

Preventing sports related injuries begins with adequate water intake before, during, and after practice and games. If your child feels thirsty, he or she is already dehydrated as thirst is one sign of dehydration. Speak with your child's coach to ensure there is an adequate supply of water readily available at all times. Consult with a physical therapist through resources like http://advancedphysicaltherapy.org for more recommendations on how to prevent sports related injuries.


9 June 2017

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