TUCSON, Ariz. - The USAG Fort Huachuca Youth Sports and Fitness Program staff in Arizona is cutting down injury risk among its young athletes while raising awareness about the importance of warming up properly through its exciting new initiative that earned it the prestigious Excellence in Youth Sports Award.
The staff partnered with Dr. Ann Lebeck, Chief of Sports Medicine for the U.S. Army, to create its Youth Sports Injury Prevention Program.
“We all know if these kids are not trained properly they can start to have injuries,” Lebeck said. “And the next thing you know they won’t like sports because every time they play soccer or run or throw a ball it hurts.”
Local experts were brought in to help devise the program.
“We wanted it simple and we wanted it reproduceable so once the learning curve was achieved the coaches would feel pretty comfortable,” Lebeck said. “It was great to have such enthusiasm from people because everyone does want to help and decreasing injuries is what we are all about.”
The goal of the program is to provide coaches, parents and youth with a simple and efficient way to warm-up prior to practices and games to help prevent sports-related injuries.
Coaches receive hands-on training during their orientation in which they learn how to perform the exercises to they are fully prepared to teach them to their young athletes. Plus, since many of the coaches are soldiers who will move to different military installations they can utilize this training with their future youth sports teams.
“It’s an area that had not been covered much so we wanted to develop a program that youth sports programs anywhere could use,” said Josue Miranda, Director of Youth Sports and Fitness at Fort Huachuca. “It’s fast and efficient and something that will positively impact our youth and their futures.”
The program is fast-paced and challenging, as well as fun to go through, which is playing a big part in helping to create strong young bodies and lay the foundation for a lifetime of fitness.
“Our injuries are down and we are very happy with the results,” Lebeck said.
The USAG Fort Huachuca Youth Sports and Fitness Program was one of four agencies to earn the Excellence in Youth Sports Award, which were presented during the 18th annual Youth Sports Congress in Orlando, Fla. in mid-November.