There are many benefits to getting your children involved in sports and group sports activities. They have the chance to learn more about physical fitness, improve their concentration skills and boost their self-esteem.
Although there are many valuable benefits, playing sports can potentially be a risky activity. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, youth sports injuries account for nearly 3 million emergency room visits each year.
Most common sports injuries in children
Some of the most common sports injuries in children are overuse injuries, concussions and sprains.
- Overuse injuries: “An overuse injury can occur after concentrating on a sport for an extended period of time or taking in too much physical activity too quickly,” says Lawrence Stankovits, MD, pediatric orthopedic surgeon at JFK University Medical Center. “These injuries can range from stress fractures to tendonitis.” About half of childhood sports injuries are the result of overuse.
- Concussion: “A concussion is a traumatic brain injury caused by a mild blow or bump to the head,” says Jonathon Lentz, DO, pediatric orthopedic surgeon at K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital, University of Jersey Shore Medical Center. . “When the head is struck, the sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce or twist against the skull.” Adds Evan Curatolo, MD, pediatric orthopedic surgeon at JFK, “Concussions involve a temporary loss of normal brain function. They are generally not life threatening, but should be taken seriously.
- Sprains: When you have a sprain, you have stretched or torn the ligaments that connect your bones to the joints. “Sprains, specifically ankle sprains, are among the most common sports injuries in children,” says Amit Merchant, DO, pediatric orthopedic surgeon at Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital of the IAAF Medical Center. Hackensack University. “A mild sprain can be treated at home, while a more severe case may require surgery.”
5 ways to prevent injuries
It is important to encourage your children to play sports safely and appropriately. Our doctors give advice to better prevent sports injuries in children:
- Warm up and cool down. Your child should do a warm-up and cool-down before and after participating in sports. A light warm-up will improve mobility, increase blood flow and improve posture. Cooling should focus on gradually decreasing heart rate and sweating.
- Use the appropriate form. Every sport has proper and improper ways to play. Your child should be shown correct technique and form by their coaches and coaches. If you can, help them hone their skills during the off seasons.
- Wear proper and protective gear. Depending on the sport your child plays, he may need a helmet, padding, mouth guard, eye protection, cleats and protective shells.
- Promotes nutrition and hydration. Your child should drink liquids, whether it’s water or a sports drink, before, every 20 minutes during, and after they play. This is even more crucial in hot and humid weather. Also, make sure your young athlete eats a well-balanced diet and has a regular meal schedule.
- Don’t let your child participate while injured. If injured, get help as soon as possible. Don’t let your child push himself while he’s in pain. Make sure they are fully healed before returning to play.