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Tips For Preventing Gymnastics Injuries


Over 25,000 gymnasts below age 15 and 100,000 adults are treated in hospital emergency rooms each year for injuries related to their sport. Many of these injuries are preventable, and both athletes and trainers can reduce the risk of these injuries by instituting safety measures and installing proper equipment.

Lowering the Risk of Gymnastics Injuries

• Go to a doctor for medical assessment before starting gymnastics training. The physical exam will gauge your child’s fitness for the sport and determine any special injury risks he or she may have.
• Equip yourself or your child with the safety gear required, and make sure they are worn during practice and competition. Your young gymnast will need wrist guards, hand grips, special footwear and pads.
• As soon as you suspect you or a child is injured, visit a doctor immediately. Follow all medical advice for faster recovery and get a positive medical evaluation before allowing yourself to return to practice sessions or compete. More importantly cease all sports activities at the first signs of pain.
• Bring first aid kit during all practice sessions and competitions.
• Work with your coach. Make sure the coach is aware of the particular injury risks faced by young gymnasts, and continually underlines the need for safety.
• Examine the training and competition venues. Equipment must be in good condition and situated far apart to prevent collisions. Floors must be padded and mats firmly installed beneath each device. Make sure your child uses a safety harness when executing new or complicated manoeuvres.
• Be firm in demanding that spotters be present when your child is learning a new or difficult move. Spotters are required during practice and competition to catch your child in case of falls.
• Support your child in voicing his or her apprehension in executing complicated or difficult manoeuvres. Prevent the coach from intimidating your child into performing moves he or she is not prepared to do.
• Most importantly, make gymnastics an enjoyable activity for your child. Placing too much emphasis on winning can cause your child stress and elevate the risks of injury.

Athletes At Risk

Over 600,000 US children participate in academic-related and club-level gymnastics with millions of others around the world. Children from the early age of 4 or 5 years old, these young gymnasts train for very long hours each day. The rigorous physical training and the difficult manoeuvres inherent in gymnastics make it a high risk injury sport. A study conducted among secondary school athletes placed gymnastics in the fourth place as one of the chief causes of sports injuries. In club-related gymnastics programs, an injury rate of 22% was also noted.

Fractures, sprains, and strained muscles and ligaments count for being among the most frequent of gymnastic injuries. Most often involving the ankles and the knees, these injuries are caused by hard landings and improperly executed dismounts. Lower back injuries are also prevalent. Although most gymnastics injuries are rarely, if ever, critical, most of them lead to chronic pain and bone fractures in young athletes, which more often than not, become long-term afflictions.

The innumerable bends, twists and landings performed during the floor exercises rate highest in causing injury. In addition, foregoing the use of safety harnesses, not using spotters, over-fatigue and excessively long practice hours also increase injury risk.

Eating disorders like anorexia, nervosa or bulimia are among the serious problems faced by female gymnasts. The constant pressure to maintain a certain body weight and mass can lead to improper diets which deprive growing bodies of the basic nutrients needed by young athletes. Because of poor eating habits, studies have shown that low bone densities in female gymnasts were the leading cause of stress fractures.




Eating Disorders Preventing Eating Disorders Proteins, Fats and Carbs Competition Diet Fast Foods Sample Diets

Frequently Asked Questions About Gymnastics

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