While it's important for an athlete of any age to stretch, in my experience treating youth athletes, I've noticed that many do not stretch before or after they play. The same goes at practice with them not being led through a proper warm-up or cool down.
I've also seen that many young athletes have extremely weak cores and/or poor posture, despite playing sports multiple days a week.... With COVID-19, and remote learning, there has been a large increase in time spent sitting and using devices indoors....
I fear this will/has exacerbated the problem I was already seeing with my younger athletes, and put them at risk.
Children often heal quickly from injuries, but I am a strong believer in prevention. As someone who has spent a lot of time on the sidelines due to injuries, I would never want another athlete to experience that.
One student athlete I was working with was very active with soccer and basketball (pre COVID). He came to me for an ankle sprain which resolved quickly. Soon after, he sprained his knee during a collision at practice.
We were able to decrease the swelling and his pain but I still noticed significant weakness and poor form with fundamental movements.
While he was cleared by the MD to return to sport, this athlete needed reinforcement to move slowly and properly during the exercises in order to best help him on the field.
If you, or an athlete you know, are interested in preventing injury and improving your performance, a Functional Assessment is for you. I'll be able to see how you're moving, demonstrate proper form for exercises, stretches, warm-ups, cool downs, and determine a plan to best help you on the field.
Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.