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Local expert stresses the importance of youth sports safety

Athletic trainer talks youth sports safety

CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) — A local sports injury prevention expert is emphasizing the importance of safety for young athletes.

Ascension St. Vincent Hospital in Carmel provides athletic training care to local schools, with Zionsville High School as a prime example. Three athletic trainers are on-site at the high school to prevent sports-related injuries.

Middle schools in the area also benefit from this commitment, with full-time athletic trainers available to address the safety needs of younger athletes. Carmel has invested in sports safety, employing three athletic trainers at the high school and an additional trainer at the middle school.

Chad Gabbard, the training manager at Ascension St. Vincent Hospital, highlighted the risks of early sports specialization. “You have kids that specialize at such a young age, leading to overuse injuries we never saw before,” he said.

Gabbard added, “Coaches prefer multi-sport athlete kids because they develop different movement patterns when they engage in various sports. Although we never want to keep kids away from sports they love, sometimes we have to suggest ways to improve.”

Gabbard also recommends parents protect their children with the best sporting gear adequately. Proper equipment, such as helmets, mouth guards, and padding, can help prevent injury.

The approach to youth sports safety focuses on diversified sports engagement and ensuring athletes have access to appropriately sized, approved protective equipment.