common youth sports injuries
30 Nov

Common Youth Sports Injuries And How To Prevent Them

Posted by Chris Tallos 30-Nov-2015

Children can gain many benefits from playing sports. Some of these include increased physical fitness, social well being and learning the importance of teamwork. At the same time, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) estimates that more than 2 million American children wind up in the emergency room each year as a result of sports related injuries. Below are a list of the most common injuries which the youth sustain while playing sports, and how they can be prevented.

Sprained ligament

A sprain occurs when a ligament becomes injured. The ligament is a band of tissue which is responsible for connecting two bones near a joint. When a ligament becomes injured, it will be stiff and painful and as a result the child will have difficulty moving it. The most common type of sprain sustained by children during sports is a sprained ankle.

Heat sickness

Many sports are played during the summer, outdoors. As a result, many children are susceptible to heat sickness. This type of illness results from many causes, and some of the symptoms include dizziness, headaches, nausea, pale or moist skin, dilated pupils, low pulse and fainting. Heat sickness is particularly dangerous because many children, parents and coaches don’t take it seriously, but in fact this condition can be life threatening. Children don’t sweat as much as adults, which mean they must be monitored when they play sports to ensure they don’t become too hot.

Injuries resulting from repetitive motion

A bone that is exposed to too much stress or a muscle that is overused may become injured. Tendinitis is a condition in which the tendons become inflamed due to overuse. These injuries are tricky because they sometimes won’t appear on X-rays, while causing the child pain. The best way to respond to these injuries is through rest, compression, elevation and an ice pack. Depending on the severity of the injury, physical therapy may be needed.

sport injuries infographics

Understanding injury prevention

While it is impossible for a child to completely avoid the risk of injury when playing sports, there are ways to reduce the chances of injuries being sustained. The first of these preventive measures is to enroll your child in an organized sports club or team, where they will be given training and equipment to reduce their chances of being injured. Many children who are injured during sports are engaged in “backyard sports” where they are using no safety equipment such as helmets.

Warm-ups should always form an important part of the child’s routine. They ensure that the tissues within the body are warm and flexible, which reduces the chances of repetitive motion injuries. Cool down exercises are the opposite of warm ups and are designed to loosen those muscles which have become tight while playing.

Also, be sure that your child has access to plenty of fluids whenever they are engaged in sports. These fluids should consist of water or sports drinks. Avoid beverages like soda which have caffeine, as these will lead to dehydration which in turn can contribute to heat sickness. Coaches and administrators can also put injury prevention tips on their website which can educate both players and the public.