According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), participation in organized sports is on the rise. Nearly 30 million children and adolescents participate in youth sports in the United States. This increase in play has led to some other startling statistics about injuries among America’s young athletes:
- High school athletes account for an estimated 2 million injuries and 500,000 doctor visits and 30,000 hospitalizations each year.
- More than 3.5 million kids under age 14 receive medical treatment for sports injuries each year.
- Children ages 5 to 14 account for nearly 40 percent of all sports-related injuries treated in hospitals. On average the rate and severity of injury increases with a child’s age.
- Overuse injuries are responsible for nearly half of all sports injuries to middle and high school students
- Although 62 percent of organized sports-related injuries occur during practice, one-third of parents do not have their children take the same safety precautions at practice that they would during a game.
- Twenty percent of children ages 8 to 12 and 45 percent of those ages 13 to 14 will have arm pain during a single youth baseball season.
- Injuries associated with participation in sports and recreational activities account for 21 percent of all traumatic brain injuries among children in the United States.
- According to the CDC, more than half of all sports injuries in children are preventable.
- By age 13, 70 percent of kids drop out of youth sports. The top three reasons: adults, coaches and parents.
Developing youth athletes who normally specialize in one sport year round is a difficult task. The number of tournaments, games, and practices per season are always increasing. A soccer player could be playing almost as much as 7 times per week and with back to back games on a weekend. If the athlete is expected to perform at a high level how does an E3Sports coach yield a positive outcome? “Recovering and unloading the athlete is instrumental in the longevity of the player who wants to be a high performer”, says E3Sports co-founder Andrew FitzGerald.
E3Sports uses a simple wellness survey to track sleep, mood, fatigue and energy levels over the course of a season. Acquiring this information is vital from a programming point of view and can help coaches plan better practices that reduce player load when necessary leading to fewer injuries. The Daily Wellness Survey is part of an on the field an E3Sports warm-up. This consists of multiple stations that address muscle tissue suppleness, joint mobility & stability, flexibility, balance and even meditation to help reduce cognitive load from a long day at school. Post competition calls for a team social debrief and full body stretching and breathing patterns are implemented on a regular basis to help the body recover from intense activity. Both before and after the session, the team gets together for a short group meditation.