Preventing Musculoskeletal Sports Injuries in Youth:

A Guide for Parents Part 5 (Presented by End Results Health & Wellness).

 

Childhood Sports Injuries: A Common and Serious Problem

 

In the previous Newsletters, I talked about how more than 38 million children and adolescents participate in organized sports in the United States each year. Still more participate in informal recreational activities.

There is a risk of sports-related injuries when young children participate in these sports or recreational activities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 2.6 million children 5 to 19 years old are treated in the emergency department each year for sports and recreation-related injuries.

In this final Newsletter, I’ll tie all the preventative, treatment , and a sure fire home remedy for reducing swelling and speedup the recovery process.

Preventing and Treating Injuries

Injuries can happen to any child who plays sports, but there are some things that can help prevent and treat injuries.

Prevention

  • Enroll your child in organized sports through schools, community clubs, and recreation areas that are properly maintained. Any organized team activity should demonstrate a commitment to injury prevention. Coaches should be trained in first aid and CPR, and should have a plan for responding to emergencies. Coaches should be well versed in the proper use of equipment, and should enforce rules on equipment use.

  • Organized sports programs may have adults on staff that are certified athletic trainers. These individuals are trained to prevent, recognize, and provide immediate care for athletic injuries. End Results Health & Wellness has Certified Strength and Conditioning Trainers who specialize in Child preventative sports injuries. See our contact info below.

  • Make sure your child has—and consistently uses—proper gear for a particular sport. This may reduce the chances of being injured.

  • Make warm-ups and cool-downs part of your child’s routine before and after sports participation. Warm-up exercises make the body’s tissues warmer and more flexible. Cool-down exercises loosen muscles that have tightened during exercise.

  • Make sure your child has access to water or a sports drink while playing. Encourage him or her to drink frequently and stay properly hydrated. Remember to include sunscreen and a hat (when possible) to reduce the chance of sunburn, which is a type of injury to the skin. Sun protection may also decrease the chances of malignant melanoma—a potentially deadly skin cancer—or other skin cancers that can occur later in life.

  • Learn and follow safety rules and suggestions for your child’s particular sport. You’ll find some more sport-specific safety suggestions below.

     

    Treatment

  • Treatment for sports-related injuries will vary by injury. But if your child suffers a soft tissue injury (such as a sprain or strain) or a bone injury, the best immediate treatment is easy to remember: RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) the injury. Get professional treatment if any injury is severe. A severe injury means having an obvious fracture or dislocation of a joint, prolonged swelling, or prolonged or severe pain.

  • Treat Injuries with “RICE”
  • Rest: Reduce or stop using the injured area for at least 48 hours. If you have a leg injury, you may need to stay off of it completely.

  • Ice: Put an ice pack on the injured area for 20 minutes at a time, four to eight times per day. Use a cold pack, ice bag, or a plastic bag filled with crushed ice that has been wrapped in a towel.

  • Compression: Ask your child’s doctor about elastics wraps, air casts, special boots, or splints that can be used to compress an injured ankle, knee, or wrist to reduce swelling.

  • Elevation: Keep the injured area elevated above the level of the heart to help decrease swelling. Use a pillow to help elevate an injured limb

 

Keep Kids Exercising

It is extremely important to keep kids exercising and moving. Exercise may reduce their chances of obesity, which is becoming more common in children. It may also reduce their risk of diabetes, a disease that can be associated with a lack of exercise and poor eating habits. Exercise also helps him build social skills and provides him with a general sense of well-being. Sports participation is an important part of learning how to build team skills.

As a parent, it is important for you to encourage your children to be physically active. It’s also important to match your child to the sport, and not push him or her too hard into an activity that he or she may not like or be capable of doing. Teach your children to follow the rules and to play it safe when they get involved in sports, so they’ll spend more time having fun in the game and be less likely to be sidelined with an injury. You should be mindful of the risks associated with different sports and take important measures to reduce the chance of injury. For sport-specific suggestions, see the information below.

Sport-Specific Safety Information

Here are some winning ways to help prevent an injury from occurring, so you are less likely to get that alarming phone call like Raoul’s mom did.

Basketball

  • Common injuries and locations: sprains, strains, bruises, fractures, scrapes, dislocations, cuts, injuries to teeth, ankles, and knees. (Injury rates are higher in girls, especially for the anterior cruciate ligament or ACL, the wide ligament that limits rotation and forward movement of the shin bone.)

  • Safest playing with: eye protection, elbow and knee pads, mouth guard, athletic supporters for males, proper shoes, water. If playing outdoors, wear sunscreen and, when possible, a hat.

  • Injury prevention: strength training (particularly knees and shoulders), aerobics (exercises that develop the strength and endurance of heart and lungs), warm-up exercises, proper coaching, and use of safety equipment.

    Track and Field

  • Common injuries: strains, sprains, scrapes from falls.

  • Safest playing with: proper shoes, athletic supporters for males, sunscreen, water.

  • Injury prevention: proper conditioning and coaching.

    Football

  • Common injuries and locations: bruises, sprains, strains, pulled muscles, tears to soft tissues such as ligaments, broken bones, internal injures (bruised or damaged organs), concussions, back injuries, sunburn. Knees and ankles are the most common injury sites.

  • Safest playing with: helmet, mouth guard, shoulder pads, athletic supporters for males, chest/rib pads, forearm, elbow, and thigh pads, shin guards, proper shoes, sunscreen, water.

  • Injury prevention: proper use of safety equipment, warm-up exercises, proper coaching techniques and conditioning.

    Baseball and Softball

  • Common injuries: soft tissue strains, impact injuries that include fractures caused by sliding and being hit by a ball, sunburn.

  • Safest playing with: batting helmet, shin guards, elbow guards, athletic supporters for males, mouth guard, sunscreen, cleats, hat, detachable, “breakaway bases” rather than traditional, stationary ones.

  • Injury prevention: proper conditioning and warm-ups.

    Soccer

  • Common injuries: bruises, cuts and scrapes, headaches, sunburn.

  • Safest playing with: shin guards, athletic supporters for males, cleats, sunscreen, water.

  • Injury prevention: aerobic conditioning and warm-ups, and proper training in “heading” (that is, using the head to strike or make a play with the ball).

    Gymnastics

  • Common injuries: sprains and strains of soft tissues.

  • Safest playing with: athletic supporters for males, safety harness, joint supports (such as neoprene wraps), water.

  • Injury prevention: proper conditioning and warm-ups.

     

     

    Safety Tips for All Sports

  • Be in proper physical condition to play the sport.

  • Follow the rules of the sport.

  • Wear appropriate protective gear (for example, shin guards for soccer, a hard-shell helmet when facing a baseball or softball pitcher, a helmet and body padding for ice hockey).

  • Know how to use athletic equipment.

  • Always warm up before playing.

  • Avoid playing when very tired or in pain.

  • Get a preseason physical examination.

  • Make sure adequate water or other liquids are available to maintain proper hydration.

     

    End Results Health & Wellness has developed unique sports specific exercise programs to help prevent injuries from occurring in young Athletes. For more details about our Periodization Sports Specific Youth Athletic program contact us.

 

This article was written by Curtis Mann Co- Owner and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.

Information for this News Article was obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Mayo Clinic.