Conditioning, rest periods can help young athletes prevent problems.

Q: My son plays multiple sports and has little downtime for his body to recover. With the competition getting harder, more players are getting hurt. What can we do to help prevent injury during fall sports season?

A: Youth sports are becoming more competitive than ever. Because they train hard on and off the field, athletes have little downtime, and opportunity for injury becomes greater.

Sports injuries are the second-leading cause of emergency room visits for children and adolescents. However, 50 percent of injuries can be avoided if athletes are properly conditioned.

Pediatricians recommend following these principles:

1. Warm up and cool down. Participating in at least 10 minutes of light aerobic activity and stretching before and after strenuous activity allows for blood flow to the muscles, making it easier to prevent injury.

2. Safety first. When working out, learn to perform the exercises with good form and technique before adding additional weight or difficulty. This will ensure a steady and safe progression, helping to avoid preventable injuries.

3. Work + rest = success. Avoid injury by completing aprogressive program that addresses all major muscle groups through a complete range of motion. Include rest periods. Athletes need at least one to two days off a week for recovery. Because their bodies are still growing, probably the most important component of recovery is ensuring they get eight to 10 hours of quality, restful sleep.

When a child is injured, he or she should be evaluated to start the proper course of treatment to get back in the game.

Always consult your child's pediatrician concerning your child's health or before starting any exercise program.

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Eric Leighton is the functional rehabilitation lead with the Sports Medicine team at Nationwide Children's Hospital.

Jeff Sydes is the sports performance lead with the Sports Medicine team at Nationwide Children's Hospital.