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Wellness

Striving for good physical and mental health are important components in a young athlete's development.

Wellness is an active process of making good choices toward a healthy life. As athletes, we perform our best when our body is well cared for, with the proper balance of training, nutrition, rest and renewal. But more than just the physical, wellness also includes making good choices to avoid risky behaviors that can hamper our development and performance.

Avoiding Burnout

Coaches and parents should encourage players to take some time off from lacrosse, especially if they've been playing in multiple leagues or consecutive seasons. This can prevent burnout and overuse injuries, which is extremely important at the youth level. The American Academy of Pediatrics' Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness recommends that children and adolescents play on only one team per season and take a vacation of 2-3 months from a specific sport (not all sports necessarily) each year.

Sport Specialization

Athletes should not specialize in a single sport at least until they reach puberty, and preferably not until later in adolescence (approximately 15-16 years of age). The biggest risks associated with early specialization are intense training leading to overuse injuries; being socially isolated from their peers; burnout, anxiety and depression; and missing out on exposure to other sports that they may find more enjoyable and rewarding. 

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A Drug-Free Sport

USA Lacrosse is committed to a drug-free sport and unequivocally opposes the practice of doping in lacrosse. Doping is both a health issue and an ethics issue.

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Playing Sun Safe

Due to extended sun exposure, lacrosse players and other outdoor athletes could be at higher risk for sunburn and melanoma. USA Lacrosse strongly encourages the use of liquid sunscreen, wearing UPF 50 clothing that blocks damaging rays from reaching the skin, and getting annual screenings by a licensed dermatologist. Learn more from our friends at the Claire Marie Foundation.

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Heat Illness

When an athlete exercises, the body's temperature is elevated and the body sweats to cool itself down. During this process, body fluid as well as critical electrolytes are lost. If the body isn't replenished with fluids and electrolytes, dehydration may occur and increase the risk of a heat illness. Heat illness is best understood in three separate degrees of severity: heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and the most serious form, heat stroke.

Warning Signs

Nutrition & Hydration

A healthy diet and good eating habits are essential for a young athlete's development and performance. Your body also needs fluids to stay properly hydrated.

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