By | Healthy Living.

Football season is starting back up this fall, and if your teen is on the high school football team, there are a few things you should know to keep him safe and healthy. Football is certainly one of the most popular sports in the U.S., and families and communities rally around their teams every season to celebrate the sport.

However, football is also arguably one of the most dangerous sports, and countless players are injured every year. Sprains, breaks, pulled muscles, and head injuries are common in football, so it is important to take whatever preventative measures are available to ensure that the football season is injury-free.  Below are some tips to keep your teen safe and healthy this football season.

Get in shape.

Many teams offer conditioning or workout sessions during the summer, before the season starts.  Players should take full advantage of these opportunities so that their bodies will be in excellent shape to start playing in the fall. If pre-season workouts like these are not available, players should still use the summer to exercise regularly to get in shape for the season.

Once the season starts, players should develop a few healthy habits to keep their bodies healthy and injury-free throughout the season. It especially important to warm up well before a practice or game. A simple jog or some jumping jacks can get muscles warm quickly. Once a player’s muscles are warm, he should stretch carefully. It is also a good idea to stretch after a practice or game is over to cool down.

Most high schools require student-athletes to get a sports physical before they can participate in sports.  Even if this isn’t a requirement, athletes should go ahead and get a physical exam before the season begins. This will ensure that any existing conditions or injuries are addressed before a player begins the season.

Eat healthy and stay hydrated.

Eating healthy is another thing that football players can do during the summer months before football season even begins. The foods an athlete puts into his body have significant impacts on his ability to perform well.

It is also incredibly important to stay hydrated during practices and games. The first few months of football season can be pretty warm, which makes overheating a concern. Dehydration is also a common problem during practices and games. Athletes need to drink plenty of water before and during games and practices.

Play by the rules.

This may not often be the first thing you’d associate with staying safe in football, but many of the game’s rules are in place to prevent injury. Players should study the rulebook closely and be aware of the way they play during practices and games to ensure that they don’t make a move that will result in a penalty, or worse – an injury.

Wear the proper gear.

The helmet, pads, and shoes designed specifically for football players are meant to prevent injuries on the field. Players should never take to the field without all of their gear worn correctly. Without the right protective gear, a player puts himself and others at risk for injuries.

Have first aid on site.

First aid should be available at every game and practice. Additionally, there should always be someone who can administer first aid in the event of an injury. In the event of serious injury, there should always be someone designated to take an injured player to the emergency room or to call an ambulance.

Lastly, athletes should never feel like they have to play through the pain. If a player thinks he is injured, he should rest the injury and have it treated, rather than continue to play and make the injury worse.  Athletes should never start playing again after an injury until they receive the okay from a doctor.