Parents should offer support and understanding, with a bit of guidance, to their teen or younger athlete before, during and after their school sports season. As the parent of a student-athlete, you should understand that you play a crucial role in your child’s success and dedication to their chosen sport.
Support a Healthy Lifestyle
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is recommended for all ages, but student-athletes particularly need to focus on their well-being. Parents can do the following to offer support.
- Encourage regular exercise and stretching even in the off-season. “One of the best ways to prevent injury is to follow an exercise schedule throughout the year – even when your student-athlete is not participating in an active sports season. When combined with a healthy diet and consistent rest, staying active can keep kids healthy and conditioned for the upcoming season,” said OSMC Sports Medicine Specialist, Dr. Ryan Foreman.
- Prepare nutritious meals at home and have healthy snacks available. Plus, remember a regular meal schedule of breakfast, lunch and dinner helps build a strong body.
- Urge your child to get a good night’s sleep. Researchers have found that student-athletes who got enough sleep every night were less likely to have an injury than their counterparts who got inadequate sleep.
- Prevent the spread of germs. Keep your athlete’s uniforms and workout clothing clean. This will help to avoid spreading viral, fungal, and bacterial infections.
- Help your child manage pain or muscle cramps. Talk to your student-athlete and make sure they know that they don not have to be tough and ignore the pain from an injury! Encourage them to tell you when they’re injured. Look for signs of any injury and ask questions. When kids attempt to play through their pain, their injuries often worsen. Early intervention is the key to limiting the issue.
- If your child is hurt and experiencing persistent pain, instability, or swelling during and after playing be sure to see a sports medicine doctor or orthopedic provider to evaluate their condition correctly and recommend, if appropriate, necessary treatments or therapies.
“OSMC has sports medicine and orthopedic physicians. We understand the musculoskeletal system and offer techniques to avoid injury and keep student-athletes in Michiana healthy,” said Dr. Foreman. OSMC treats injuries, as well.
Stay Positive and Offer Encouragement
Make sure your child is playing a sport because it’s their choice. Sports can be mentally and physically tough to handle, and your child will need your support to stay motivated to try their best. Another great way to show support is to attend their competitions or have a plan for watching the live stream or replay.
Understand and Respect the Rules
First, we recommend learning the rules and regulations of your child’s sport to understand their responsibilities and how you can best support them. Also, make sure you let the coach do their job and remember your role as a supportive parent is to watch (and cheer!) from the sidelines.
Be There for Tough Times
There will inevitably be disappointing losses, members cut from the team, injuries, or other trials during your child’s sports seasons. Listen to their thoughts during the challenging times and do your best to help them learn from the setbacks.
When your child has a big win or accomplishes a goal, celebrate their success with them. Make sure you aren’t only celebrating actual scoreboard wins. Even in lost games, there is always a win to celebrate. Help them feel proud of their accomplishments and motivate them to continue striving for excellence.
How Can OSMC Help You and Your Student-Athlete?
By following these tips, you can help your student-athlete succeed – in sports and life. OSMC’s sports medicine doctors, orthopedic providers and therapists offer comprehensive diagnostics, treatments, and rehabilitation services to help athletes of all ages.