NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Spring break means it’s time for spring sports, and kids around the region are using this week to prepare.

But doctors say there are things kids should do to avoid injuries that can end their season before it even gets started.

As CBS2’s Elise Finch reported, after a cold, snowy winter some kids are getting outside to play for the first time in months, and they’re ready to get started.

“I just like playing really,” said 6-year-old Charlie Hayes.

Charlie’s dad, Chris Hayes, said he limits practice time for his son to ease him back into soccer.

“We try to keep it at an easy amount of time for him to play where he still feels like he’s having fun,” Hayes said, adding he also hopes it will prevent injury.

“Most injuries that are inherent to a new season or a new event are due to muscle strains or ligament sprains,” explained Dr. Robert Gotlin, with Mount Sinai Beth Israel.

Gotlin is the director of orthopedic and sports rehabilitation at Mount Sinai Beth Israel. He said to avoid injuries, children need to stretch before they play and cool down after.

“Their bones are growing, their ligaments are stretching so we need to have them stretch and be active before the activity,” said Gotlin. “There should be a cool down because if we just stop cold turkey, muscles tend to contract and constrict very tightly and that can lead to injury because muscles are so tight.”

Running laps or sprints will usually do the trick after playing, Finch reported. But physical therapist Karena Wu said the stretching before hand should be a slower version of moves your child will repeat in his or her sport.

“It’s light aerobic activity that includes some stretching, so things like monster walks or backpedal jogging,” she said.

Experts suggest no matter what sport your child is starting this spring, it’s imperative that they don’t push themselves too hard, Finch reported.

“They’re not conditioned to go back into sports and then they jump back in it like they just finished the season,” Wu said.

Experts added that it’s important to slowly build up a child’s endurance when they start or return to a sport in order to prevent injuries.

Doctors also say it’s important for children to eat properly before and after they play a sport and to stay hydrated throughout.



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