NORFOLK - Every year, hundreds of coaches from the recreation programs to the elite club teams start their season with two goals in mind - to have a successful season and have their players be injury free.

Unfortunately, not every team can have a winning season and there are always injuries and some can be prevented. However, the majority of coaches have had very little formal training on preventing sports injury to keep youth in the game.

Here are some tips from Dr. Tina Seminara, a sports medicine physical therapist, on how parents can help their children avoid serious injuries.

Tip 1: Prevent injuries before the game begins
Proper warms up and stretching can protect muscles, tendons and ligaments in everyone from the 5-year-old striker to a top high-school point guard.
There are specific stretches and warm ups for specific sports and specific ages. You need to be aware of those.
Stretches are not enough aerobic exercises should precede practice.
Male and female players also require somewhat different warm ups and some exercises can prevent serious problems with the knees of females basketball players, for instance.

Tip 2: Heat, humidity and hydration
In outdoor sports, the heat and humidity of this region can present dangers to players of all ages.
Hydration needs to take place not only during practice, but before practice.
High-school athletes may want to drink energy drinks, hoping it will give them a burst of power. These are often laden with caffeine and can be dangerous and don't provide adequate hydration.
If coaches notice that any player appears dizzy or disoriented, the player should be pulled from the game and medical help should be sought.

Tip 3: Concussions
Over the last year, doctors have recognized the dangers of concussions.
Concussion can occur in many sports, and are especially dangerous to young athletes.
If a child falls and hits his or her head, it's important to be aware of signs and symptoms of concussions.
If a child or teenager suffers even a minor concussion, they must be pulled from the game a second concussion can result in disability or even death.

To help area coaches, CHKD and Kohl's are sponsoring a free coach's clinic on July 13 at Salem High School from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Registration is required. Coaches will learn proper warm-ups, cool downs and prevention of injuries according to the age and gender of the athletes they are coaching.

For more information, call 668-7402 and you can register on the CHKD Website.

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