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posted: 8/26/2014 4:32 PM

Athletico Physical Therapy Shares Health Tips to Start the School Year off Right

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Lauren Hill

 Consider Pre-Season Testing -- Concussion is a common head injury in many sports including, but not limited to, soccer and football. Besides making sure your child wears proper protective equipment, it's important to know the signs of concussion. A baseline Brain Network Activity (BNA™) test is a simple assessment that can help and is available at select Athletico locations. If you suspect a concussion, the post injury results can be checked against the baseline results. Symptoms of a concussion include headache, dizziness, feeling slowed down, feeling in a fog, nausea or vomiting, blurred/double vision, sensitivity to light and difficulty concentrating. To learn more about BNA testing at Athletico, visit

 Protect the back -- Carrying around a backpack laden with heavy books can cause serious harm to a young back, so be aware of these tips:

o Wear both straps. Allowing a heavy backpack to hang from one shoulder (or with one strap) makes one side of the body bear the weight, causing strain on the back.

o Go as light as possible. Kids should carry only 15 percent of their body weight.

o Load correctly. Put heaviest items closest to the back and arrange them so they won't slide.

 Stretch to avoid injury -- Whether your kids are playing sports or logging time in front of a computer, it's important to stretch periodically. Follow these tips:

o Stretch muscles on both sides of the body to keep balanced.

o Push stretches to create a slight tension, not pain, which can lead to injury.

o Slow and steady is safest. Hold the stretch for at least 15 seconds.

 Stay hydrated -- Early fall sports practices often take place in hot afternoon sun, making young athletes prone to dehydration, which can cause fatigue, dizziness, nausea, weakness and muscle cramps. Severe cases can be fatal. Your child should follow these tips:

o Be sure to stay hydrated before, during and after a workout by drinking:

 16 -- 20 ounces of water before and after moderately intense exercise in the heat

 3 -- 8 ounces of drinks with sodium and electrolytes every 15--20 minutes when exercising longer than 60 minutes

o Pay attention to urine color, which should be very pale to light yellow. Anything darker means your child is dehydrated and needs to drink more.

o Carry a water bottle all day and eat water-packed foods, such as grapes, tomatoes and watermelon.

 Be active -- If your child prefers the library to the gym, make sure physical activity is built into the day. Staying active year-round is key to staying flexible and in good health. Bicycling, working out during study breaks or even just walking to school can help kids stay fit.

 Mind the posture -- School means lots of sitting, not the best thing for young spines. Kids should:

o Sit in a chair -- not a bed or couch -- when studying or working at a computer, keeping the knees bent, and legs at a 90 degree angle with feet flat on the floor.

o Stand up and walk around every 30 minutes. If there is no opportunity to do that during class, students should occasionally straighten the legs, roll the shoulders and lift the chin to the ceiling, holding the stretch for 15-30 seconds.

o When working on a laptop or tablet, the wrists should be in a neutral position and the screen should be positioned so that your child's eyes are level with the top of the screen, avoiding having to bend the head forward constantly.

Want to know more about how to stay healthy all year round? Visit for more information and to find the location nearest you, where you or your child can get a complimentary injury screening.

Other Athletico locations include: Arlington Heights, Barrington, Buffalo Grove, Cary, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Elmhurst, Glenview, Grayslake, Lake Forest, Lake in the Hills, Lake Zurich, Lisle, Naperville, Oak Brook, Palatine, Park RIdge, St. Charles, Vernon Hills, and Wheaton.