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Sports Safety for Young Athletes

Aug 13, 2018 young athletes playing football

Keeping Young Athletes Safe from Sports Injuries

Students across the country are headed back to school this month, meaning young athletes are gearing up for their favorite fall and spring sports. Sports are a great way for children to stay in shape, develop hand-eye coordination and learn teamworking skills–but they aren’t without some risk of injury. Knowing why children are at risk for sports injuries and how to prevent them will ensure your child gets through the season safely.

Children Are at Greater Risk for Sports Injury

Children are far more susceptible to sports injuries than adults, as their bones, muscles and tendons are still developing. Any sports injury risks fracturing a child’s growth plates–the cartilage at the end of bones that determines their future length and shape. Where a shoulder injury may turn out to be a simple sprain for an adult, it could disrupt a child’s development in that area for years.

More Children are Suffering from Sports Injuries

As high school sports become more competitive, more athletes are seeking year-round leagues and training opportunities to improve their skills. However, this only increases the risk for serious sports injuries. Recent data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons indicates:

• High school athletics account for 2 million injuries, 500,000 physician visits and 30,000 hospitalizations per year

• More than 3.5 million children under 14 receive medical treatment for sports injuries per year

• Four in 10 child emergency room visits are for sports-related injuries

Youth Sports Injuries Are Preventable

Although specific prevention methods vary by sport, there are a number of general precautions athletes may take to reduce their likelihood of injury. These include:

• Wearing protective gear, such as helmets or padding

Stretching and warming up before playing

• Hydrating during rest breaks

• Limiting play when exhausted

Far too often, we see injuries with athletes who over-exerted themselves in an effort to win. Although youth sports should be competitive, no child should feel pressured to risk their safety in order to be successful on the field. Coaches and parents have a responsibility to teach children to learn from defeats as much as they celebrate victories and create a safer atmosphere for all.

Youth Sports Injury Help

Sports injuries may cause developmental issues for young athletes. If your child was recently injured at practice or in a game, call the sports medicine hotline at 636-62-SPORT to speak with one of our orthopaedic pecialists, or schedule an appointment online.

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Categories: Sports Medicine