6 tips to help you and your family avoid sports injuries

High school athletes account for an estimated two million injuries, 500,000 doctor visits, and 30,000 hospitalizations annually, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Below are some tips to help you protect yourself and your family from serious sports injuries:

1. Protect your brain

Protect your brain by avoiding hits to the head and follow the rules for safe and fair play to lower your chances of getting a concussion. Make sure you’re wearing appropriate protective gear.
To help ensure the health and safety of young athletes, the CDC developed the HEADS UP Concussion in Youth Sports initiative to offer information about concussions to coaches, parents, and athletes involved in youth sports. The HEADS UP initiative provides important information on preventing, recognizing, and responding to a concussion - CLICK HERE for more information.

2. Warm up

Stretch before starting your activity. According to Mount Sinai, cold muscles are more prone to injury. 
Some of the warm up exercises they recommend include - jumping jacks, butt kicks, or arm circles.

3. Strengthen your core

A strong core improves your balance and stability, which is crucial in all sports and can help you avoid injury.

4. Diet and hydration

Maintain a healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables and lean proteins. Emphasize hydration to prevent heat-related illnesses. Signs of heat-related illness include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, confusion or fainting.

5. Take time to rest

According to orthopedic surgeon James Penna, of Stony Brook University Hospital, the biggest problem right now is that many children and teens are not taking time off from their sports activities. 
A child should not play the same sport 12 months a year. There should be a two-to-four month break from any one sport. 
Students who compete in year-round sports such as gymnastics and swimming, need to pay attention to all the small things - including warming up properly and stretching.

6. Use proper technique and guidelines

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, in every sport there is a correct way and a wrong way of doing things.  For example, football players should be taught the proper way to tackle an opponent to avoid a concussion, and baseball players should be taught the proper way to throw and follow the guidelines on how many throws to make in a day.