Children who haven't gone through puberty should emphasize low weight and high repetitions. (Source: KLTV staff)
LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) -
Younger children may be eager to start lifting weights, but there is a danger in letting them start too soon.
"Younger kids have open growth plates which pre-disposes them to injuries that the older kids aren't at risk for, “ said Dr. Charles Williams, an orthopedic specialist.
Children who haven't gone through puberty should emphasize low weight and high repetitions. Pine Tree head football coach David Collins implements this philosophy in his program.
“We focus in our lower ages on understanding just how to properly lift in a weight room. We don't do a lot of weight. We are not trying to press the weight. We are trying to teach functionality of the weight,” Collins said.
One of the biggest problems can be prevented.
"Most injuries in young kids are due from overuse and those are all preventable," Dr. Williams added.
Dr. Williams participated in a two year study with specialist Dr. James Andrews from Birmingham, AL where they looked at baseball pitching injuries. Williams said the results of the study go against what most young athletes are doing right now.
“Dr. Andrews says kids should avoid throwing for 4 months out of the year. Most of these kids don't do that. They play on multiple teams, throw way too many pitches. It's almost like an epidemic now - elbow and shoulder injuries in young kids,” Dr. Williams said.
Coach Collins agrees that rest is equally important.
“We push everything it takes to be a good athlete. We talk about nutrition with our kids. We talk about getting the proper rest and I think when you look at different sports, you have to look at having moderation in those sports,” he said.
Dr. Williams says for female athletes, strengthening your core muscles could prevent about 50 percent of ACL injuries.
Dr. Williams also advises that children should be supervised while working out and should always have a spotter when lifting weights. If you have questions, he says a good place to start is www.stopsportsinjuries.org.
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