Children and Young Athletes


  • medical conditions (asthma, diabetes, epilepsy)
  • overuse injuries (stress fractures)
  • thermoregulation
  • appropriateness of resistance training

Medical Conditions

  • Asthma
    • A respiratory condition that occurs due to the narrowing of airways and accumulation of mucus.
    • Predominant marker includes difficulty in breathing marked by attacks of spasm.
    • Other symptoms include:
      • Coughing
      • Wheezing
      • Chest tightness
      • Shortness of breath
    • Patients are generally prescribed with corticosteroids that help prevent sudden flare-ups.
    • Inhalers are also prescribed to quickly open up airways and make breathing easier.
  • Diabetes
    • A medical condition where glucose levels in blood elevate.
    • Can be of two categories:
      • Type 1: The pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin for glucose metabolism.
      • Type 2: The pancreas is able to produce insulin but the cells aren’t responsive to insulin.
    • Common symptoms include:
      • Polyurea
      • Polydipsia
      • Polyphagia
    • Diet requirements need to be monitored extensively.
    • Hypoglycemia can also be triggered due to excessive strain and workout. Supplements containing glucose are provided to athletes.
    • Best to seek medical care if symptoms worsen.
  • Epilepsy
    • Neurological condition, characterized by seizures.
    • An individual experiencing an epilepsy episode loses control over their movement and mobility.
    • Often triggered in athletes due to fatigue and elevated body temperature from extensive physical activity.
    • During an epileptic attack, the patient should be kept in an area devoid of crowd. A resting phase should follow once the impact has minimized.

Overuse Injuries - Stress Fractures

  • Often occurs due to muscle strain from repetitive tasks.
  • Often common in children since they are prone to falling and sometimes have growth imbalances among bones, muscles and tendons.
  • Can be avoided by allowing children to participate in multiple sports. This will open windows for developing muscle flexibility by exercising them in different positions.
  • Training sessions should include appropriate strength training programs for a balanced workout routine including effective warm up, cool down and stretch segments.

Thermoregulation

  • Children are more likely to lose body fluid because of less overall fluid retention, less developed sweat glands and under developed muscles.
  • A quickened rate of dehydration causes overheating and heat stress.
  • Exercise routines for children shouldn’t be too intense and prolonged. Regular drink breaks should be given for fluid restoration.

Appropriateness of Resistance Training

  • For training sets focused on muscular endurance, resistance training is appropriate.
  • Routines should include efficient warm up and cool-down phases to avoid excessive stress buildup in muscles and injury.