With more children today playing organized sports on school, recreation or travel teams than there ever have been – and starting at a younger age than in the past – there also has been a spike in injuries, both statewide and nationally. To teach youth athletes, parents and coaches how to prevent injuries, the Injury Prevention Department at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH), in partnership with Safe Kids Middlesex New Jersey/founding partner Johnson & Johnson, will host a Sports Safety Clinic – “Play Safer, Smarter, Stronger, Faster” – on June 13 at the Rutgers University “Bubble” in Piscataway.
This event is free and open to the public. Youth will train with guest athletes at interactive stations focusing on “Strength & Conditioning,” “Speed & Agility Training,” “Inside the Mind of an Athlete,” “Nutrition & Hydration” and “What’s New about Concussion?” Educational sessions for parents will be provided. A meet and greet with the athletes and experts will follow.
“It’s great that kids are more active, but with that we’re also seeing more acute injuries, including torn ACLs, rotator cuff and shoulder injuries, and overuse injuries issues like strains and sprains, shin splints and “tennis elbow” (elbow pain),” explained Diana Starace, injury prevention coordinator for RWJUH and Safe Kids Middlesex County. “At the Safety Clinic, trainers will be there to teach kids, for example, the importance of warming up, cooling down and stretching, and diversifying activity to work different muscle groups to prevent those kinds of injuries.”
Youth athletes, parents and coaches are encouraged to attend. All teams who register in advance of the event will be entered in a raffle for a team prize. To register to attend, visit rwjtrauma.org/education/sportssafety or call 1-800-MD-RWJUH.