The wild way some children play, it is no wonder they sprain a muscle or ligament, twist an ankle or knee, and sometimes even break a bone. The remarkable thing is that sprains and broken bones don’t happen more often. Luckily, children have muscles and ligaments and tendons that are much more elastic than they are in grownups. Therefore, they can stretch to greater lengths without tearing. Also, a child’s knees are much less brittle than grown-ups’, so they can stand greater strain without tearing a ligament or cartilage or breaking a bone.
When athletes train to play a strenuous game like football or basketball or baseball or hockey, or when they go skiing, they are taught how to fall so that they avoid serious injury. Did you know that more injuries happen from trying not to fall than from falling? It’s true. An athlete must learn how to roll with a fall and not to tighten his muscles and ligaments. And often, it’s better to lose one’s balance rather than to try to keep it. By relaxing his muscles, allowing himself to fall and rolling with the fall, an athlete—and a young person, too—gets hurt less often. Next time you watch a football game, notice how many somersaults the players make when they are tackled or blocked.