by Michelle Durham

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Many children in the Delaware Valley take to the local fields around their home playing soccer, baseball, lacrosse, among other sports. According to one local expert, there are certain steps adults can take to minimize risk of injury on the playing field.

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Cary Huggard, Business Director and Partner at Velocity in Cherry Hill, says many of the child athlete injuries he sees can be attributed to lack of conditioning.

“The 11 or 12-year-old that sits on the couch for three months and gets really into their video games,” says Huggard. “And then all of a sudden they sign up for a sport such as soccer or football and they are hurt within the first week.”

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Rothman Institute patients rehab at Velocity, but Huggard is happy to work with kids before they get injured — and the number one way to do that he says is to work their bodies up to the task of playing a sport, perhaps with weight training.

“When I was growing up there was a big taboo about any kids before they were completely skeletally mature in lifting weights,” he adds. “You heard about stunting somebody’s growth, but kids at seven and eight (years old) walk to school with 15-20 pound backpacks on their back.”

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Huggard says kids need supervision stretching and conditioning.