When a third of all childhood injuries happen while playing sports, it's worth paying attention to some prevention. Sports injuries result in 3 million emergency room visits for children and adolescents each year. Lowering the risk of sports injuries keeps them out having fun on the field. Here are some of the most common sports injuries in children and a few simple ways to prevent them.
Sprains occur from twisting or tearing the ligaments that support joints like the ankle or wrist. Though they can result from a variety of common movements, some of the best prevention comes from taking a rest and avoiding playing when overtired.
Shin splints are common in sports that involve heavy running on hard surfaces, and they can often result from overtraining before the athlete is in peak physical condition. Taking it slow at the start of training can help avoid this splintering shin pain.
This type of brain injury comes from a violent shaking or blow to the head, which could be caused by taking a ball to the face or the skull hitting the ground too hard. While preventing concussions in contact sports can be challenging, properly fitted safety equipment (like helmets, where applicable) is a good place to start. It's also important to seek medical attention in the case of head injuries, and take the appropriate time to rest and recuperate. Head injuries can have cumulative effects over time, sometimes leading to permanent brain damage if they haven't been treated properly before the next incident of head trauma.
An ACL injury is a tear or sprain of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) — one of the strong bands of tissue that help connect your thigh bone (femur) to your shinbone (tibia). ACL tears are unfortunately common, and sometimes they require surgery. Fortunately, young athletes can help prevent them by warming up and stretching effectively, as well as using targeted strength training and proper technique to avoid injury.
Fortunately, about half of all children's sports injuries are preventable. In addition to the specific tips listed above, here are a few things you can do to stop children's sports injuries before they happen.
Overtraining can lead to exhaustion or repetitive strain injuries, not to mention making the game less fun for young players. A good rule of thumb is having no more training hours each week than the player's age. For example, a six-year-old shouldn't be on the field for more than six hours between practices and games each week.
Though many sports encourage promising youth talent to buckle down and train hard, pushing kids into a single sport actually won't help them in the long run. Doing singular, repetitive movements can lead to strain injuries and overtraining, while doing a variety of sports and movements helps the body develop more holistically. Encourage children to differentiate in their sports activities – it'll keep things fun and exciting while building their strength to prevent injuries.
We all know that sometimes you have to push through fatigue to get stronger and play harder on the sports field. But when it comes to avoiding injury, it's important to listen to a child when they say they're in pain and encourage them to rest. If the pain persists for several days, take them to see their primary care provider. Playing on an injury can worsen the issue, sometimes resulting in devastating and lasting consequences.
The best offense is a good defense. Preventative care can help defend against future injury as well as inform your methods of recovery, helping you put your best foot forward. By catching other underlying health concerns early or detecting strain injuries before they become a problem, you can help your little one keep playing their favorite sports far into the future.
Sports physicals are another great way to prevent sports injuries. Often, a visit with your medical provider before beginning a sport can help you troubleshoot any issues to be aware of before your child gets out on the court or field. Many schools require sports physicals, and in Belgrade, children can get them done at the Belgrade Middle School Panther Clinic, without having to go out of their way to an off-campus clinic.
To schedule an affordable healthcare visit, seek medical guidance and keep your family healthy, contact your nearest neighborhood CHP clinic for an appointment.