Protecting Kids From Spring and Summer Sports Injuries

Author: Leslie Toldo

Kids love playing sports.  Centers for Disease Control (CDC) numbers show well more than half of kids 5 to 17 participate.  Unfortunately, every 25 seconds one of those kids suffers a sports injury bad enough to require an emergency room visit, according to Safe Kids Worldwide.

Concussions account for 12 percent of those injuries, and half of those happen to kids between 12 and 15, according to a US Consumer Product Safety Commission injury surveillance report.  It also shows one in ten sports injuries are to the knee.  Sprains, strains, growth plate injuries, and heat illness are among the most common sports injuries.

“A child’s best defense against injury, as the old saying goes is a good offense, and that starts with the basics,” said McLaren Flint Director of Outpatient Rehabilitation Services Ahmed Baig. “It is also important to ensure that the child is wearing the correct safety equipment and follows the rules of the sport.”

Pain from sports injuries may come on suddenly, but not every injury happens in a single practice or game.  A National Institutes of Health study found nearly half of kids’ sports injuries are due to overuse, or repetitive motions.

“When athletes focus on one particular sport, they often end up overusing the same muscles and joints, increasing their risk of injury, “Baig said.

Getting kids to mix it up and play different sports, rather than doing the same one year-round can help prevent overuse injuries.

“When athletes participate in different activities, they use different muscles and joints, which helps to spread out the stress and strain across the body, making it less likely for an injury to occur,” Baig said. “Additionally, different sports provide different types of physical and mental challenges, which can help to keep athletes motivated and engaged. “

Injury prevention should be a priority when a child participates in any sport or, even, exercise, and that means taking a few extra steps before and after:

  • Stay hydrated
  • Warm-up before to relax muscles
  • Cool down after to relieve muscle tension
  • Rest and recover between activities
  • Get regular check-ups and sports physicals

Kids should also know their own bodies and be alert to pain.  Whether an injury happens in an instant, or because of repetitive motion, “walking it off”, especially if there is pain, is a bad idea.

“It is important to seek medical attention for any sports injury as soon as possible to avoid further complications,” Baig said.  “Pain or discomfort should not be ignored, and a doctor can provide the best treatment options. “

One of those options may be physical therapy.  If your doctor recommends it for your child’s pain, consider working with a McLaren Flint therapist.  Learn more, here