Sports activities account for a large number and substantial proportion of all injuries to children and youth. Most of these occur in the lower body, with adolescents incurring greater percentages as compared to younger children, with peak rates occurring in the 15 – 16 year old age group. The long-term effects of sports injuries, specifically the knee and ankle, may cause early development of osteoarthritis. Research has shown that deficits in postural control and muscle strength are the largest risk factors for injuries. Strength deficits in particular may cause muscle imbalance in co-contraction requirements, resulting in the inability of the knee and ankle to stabilize effectively during sports movements. This article will provide some examples as to the direction that you should consider as it relates to off-ice training for youth, and practices you should avoid.
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