Sports Injuries In Children
Although childhood obesity is on the rise, 30 to 45 million children participate in some form of athletics. The National Center for Sports Safety reports that more than 3.5 million children receive medical treatment for sports injuries each year. Basketball, football and baseball are the most implicated.
The most common sports-related injuries in children are acute injuries, overuse injuries, re-injuries and heat-related injuries.
Acute injuries are usually associated with some form of trauma. They include sprains, strains and fractures. Ankle sprains are the most common athletic injury.
Overuse injuries occur from repetitive actions that put too much stress on bones and muscles. Examples are stress fractures, tendinitis and apophysitis. These get worse over time if left untreated.
Re-injuries happen when atheletes return to a sport before they have sufficiently healed. This increases the risk of injuring other body parts and prolongs healing time.
Heat-related injuries are a leading cause of preventable, non-traumatic athlete death. Signs of heat illness are dilated pupils, heavy perspiration, confusion, headaches, dizziness, nausea, weak pulse and weakness.
Some preventative measures that parents and coaches can inact to reduce potential sports injuries include
Obtain a pre-season medical screening to ensure children are in good condition to play sports.
Utilize proper equipment during practices and games.
Find programs that utilize physical therapists or certified athletic trainers who can provide appropriate warm-up/cool-down conditioning and immediate care if an injury should occur.
Require children to drink plenty of fluids before, during and after practice and competitions – even if they aren't thirsty.
Don't allow a child to play while injured. Encourage them to rest and utilize ice/elevation to minimize overuse and re-injuries.
Physical therapists are experts at designing rehabilitation programs that help children recovering from sports injuries.