Kids Health Matters: Spring sports

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It's time for parents to think about kids' sports with spring on the way. (WPVI)

It's time for parents to think about kids' sports with spring on the way.

Doctors say it could keep your son or daughter off the injury list.

Jake Dilcher is a year-round athlete.

"I play football and lacrosse, and I was thinking about playing basketball this year," said Jake.

It's been like that since Jake was 4.

Between seasons, he's no couch potato - right now, football is done and lacrosse is weeks away.

"Three days a week after school, we have lifting and such, and some other days, there's like practices," said Jake.

Dr. Brian Vernau
, a sports medicine specialist at Children's Hospital Brandywine says Jake's right to start training 6 to 8 weeks before the season.

The first steps - build endurance through running, an elliptical machine, or an exercise bike.

And lift weights to increase muscle strength.

Dr. Vernau said, "If it's a stick or ball sport, like boys or girls' lacrosse, you want to get the stick in your hand, and start passing the ball."

With conditioning, kids can focus on learning game skills when practices start, not on getting in shape.

Dr. Vernau says that can prevent injuries, such as back problems, and overuse issues.

"Knee injuries, ankle injuries, foot injuries, hip injuries from too much activity on that muscle," adds Dr. Vernau.

Jake's been hurt several times.

"Freshman year, "I broke my shoulder playing football. Sophomore year, I broke the middle of my foot," said Jake.

But he believes it would have been worse, if he didn't stay in condition.

Jake said, "I know a ton of kids that weren't in the weight room that, like, have a lot of injuries."

There's been a lot of debate about year-round athletes.

Dr. Vernau says it's okay if kids switch sports, so that they're using different muscle groups.

They should also change their workouts periodically, for the same reason.

And they need at least 3 months off from any given sport.

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healthKids Health Matterssportspa. news
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