Is my child injured?
What should you do if you suspect your child has sustained an injury in dance class? Read on for some useful advice from Ausdance.
Dance medicine is always changing. Even dance veterans need to ask for help with their injuries. Here are some do’s and don’ts to help you cope with your child’s injuries.
Do read! A great first step is to read up safe dance practice. Ausdance National in 1998 created Australian Guidelines for Teaching Dance (AGTD) and features information on dance practice. Ausdance also write many reports on Safe Dance Practice.
Do find out what side is your child’s dominant side. Injuries can be prevented and exercises can be given to help your child feel balanced.
Do make sure your child does not overstretch. Resting is just as important as stretching at home.
Do subscribe to journals. One is International Association for Dance Medicine & Science (IADMS) journals. There is a free e-bulletin and journals you can purchase. Subscribe to Dance Australia’s website and magazine as they features many articles tips with the most current trends and methods.
Do develop a relationship with the dance teacher. Be courteous and communicative and try to work together as opposed to being confrontational.
Do make sure your child warms up and cools down. If the teacher does not do an adequate cool down at the end of the class, make sure your child can do some soft, relaxed stretching to get his or her muscles to wind down. You can also speak to your teacher about some suggested cool down exercises to support your child.
Do ensure your child relaxes. A young dancer can burnout. Burnout is a complex clinical condition with no single cause. Symptoms and signs vary from person to person, but tend to occur mainly in dancers whose daily schedules produce an imbalance between physical activity and time for recovery.
Don’t gossip. Gossip doesn’t heal an injury.
Don’t hide things from the dance teacher. If your child has an injury or is of different physical or intellectual ability, let the teacher know. Remember the teacher and you have the same goal - to enrich your child’s life.
Don’t accuse. There is always time for a clear discussion about a dance exercise between the parent and the teacher.
Don't self-diagnose. If your child experiences a foreign sensation or a “tingle”, that might be a cue to see a physiotherapist or another medical professional who specalises in physical activity.
Don’t panic! If your child comes home with a sore muscle after class, that is normal. However, if an injury lasts longer than 48 hours, it could be an issue due to overstretching and hypermobility. Young dancers are getting more flexible by the second and their movement range is growing. If your child feels hypermobile or has a sustained injury, please always check with a physio to see if there are structural qualities that a teacher may be unaware of. You are never too young to see a chiropractor or physiotherapist.
Ausdance, is the peak body for dance in Australia, has heaps of resources for public use and exclusively to members. To become a member of the Ausdance in your local state for as little as $33, head to www.ausdance.org.au .
* Ausdance National’s Safe Dance® info sheet #6