As the school year starts back up, so do fall sports. This means an uptick in playground and sports-related injuries. Over the summer months, kids may experience less activity, which leads to weaker muscles and reduced flexibility greatly increasing the risk of injuries. To prevent your child from experiencing an injury, it's important that you know how to prepare them to return to sports and activities safely and gradually.

Follow these guidelines to help your young athlete have a successful fall season:

Get a Checkup

  • Make an appointment with a doctor for an annual checkup before returning to sports
  • Many sports leagues require physical assessments before the start of a season
  • Having a doctor give you the ok is a key step in preventing injury


  • It can still be hot outside during the first few months of school, so make sure to get their body used to the heat by starting slowly and ensuring hydration is a priority
  • Begin with a three to four week period of progressively longer and more difficult workouts to prepare your child’s body

Protective Gear

  • Ask your child’s coach, or a professional, what type of protective gear your child can wear to stay safe
  • Make sure your child is wearing the appropriate protective gear and that it fits properly

Warmups and Cool Downs

  • If your child jumps right into intense activity without stretching it puts them at higher risk for injuries
  • Help your child prepare for strenuous activity by helping them learn stretching techniques
  • It is just as important to cool down after activity so that your child’s heart rate can return to normal

Nutrition and Sleep

  • Focus on feeding your child a healthy balanced diet and placing an importance on hydration
  • Getting adequate amounts of sleep is also an important factor in preventing injury
  • Sleep allows your child’s body to recover and can sharpen mental focus

Time Off

  • The constant stress of year-round sports on your child’s growing body can be harmful
  • Once a full season or league is finished, encourage your child to take about a month off to rest and heal

While preparation is key, injuries can still happen. Bones heal differently in children than adults, and kids are constantly growing and developing, which is why it’s important they see a pediatric orthopedic specialist when injuries do happen. The Orthopedic Center at MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach is equipped with a team of pediatric orthopedic surgeons who specialize in children’s bones and growth and are here to help.