Back to school is only a few weeks away, which means back to sports is even closer. 
For many kids, this time of year is the prime time for injuries.
Emily Medalen found out why – and how you can prevent it from happening to your young athlete.
Many kids get out of shape in the summer, and then jump back into practice with weakened muscles.

Because of this, a large number of muscle strains, sprained joints, and broken bones happen in the fall.
I spoke with some local experts about some of the best ways to keep this from happening to you.
“I work out in the off season so that I can prepare, and hopefully help lead my team,” says Luke Swonger, Future College Athlete.

In doing that, Swonger is preventing injuries that commonly take place at the start of new sports seasons.

“It’s important just to try to prevent those early season injuries so you don’t get hurt with some easily preventable stuff,” says Cole Lafferty, Sports Trainer.
“Going out and pushing yourself a little bit, too. Pushing your limits on your body, seeing what you can do…” says Tim Olson, Operations Director, YMCA.

Studies show that each year, high school athletes account for about 2 million injuries across the U.S.
90% of these are NEW injuries, not re-injuries… and a majority of them happen in the fall-
because so many athletes take a long vacation, then jump right into those intense practices.

“Get some energy back, get your blood flowing, get ready for those fall activities that you do have coming up,” says Olson.

Lafferty says putting in the work on their own time prevents some of the most common injuries – like sprains and fractures – once the season starts.

“Their muscles and their ligaments and stuff kind of get stretched out and get prepared for the rigors of the season,” says Lafferty.

And, he says, the workouts can be simple.

“Stretching and then some light work to get the body back in shape,” he says.

Swonger says for the most part, he’s been injury-free throughout high school… and he knows why.

“I attribute not having a lot of injuries to working out and preparing myself,” he says.

For young kids to get back into the swing of things, the YMCA is hosting their youth triathlon this weekend.

The race is open for anyone age 6-16 – and the kids will take off in waves by their age.
I spoke with the founder of the triathlon who says events like this engrain in kids the importance of physical fitness.
Registration for the triathlon is open right now, until Saturday morning at 8:00 at the Missouri Family YMCA – the race starts right away at 9:00 this Saturday, August 4th.