As the
parent of an athlete, we know that you are constantly worried about
your child. Youth sports offer a ton of benefits, but unfortunately
there is always the risk of injury. More than 2.5 million children
are admitted to the emergency room each year for sports-related
injuries; this article will help explain the most common injuries, as
well as prevention and treatment methods.
Most Common Sports
Injuries
Here
are four of the most common categories of sports injuries and a
little bit of information about each:
  • Sprains and Strains.
    Sprains and strains are the
    most common category of sports injuries. A sprain is an injury to a
    ligament, while a strain is an injury to a tendon or a muscle.
    Sprains and strains can be very mild (Grade I – slight swelling)
    or severe (Grade III – complete tear). Sprains and strains are
    usually caused by a strong contraction or an over-extension.
  • Fractures and
    Dislocations.
    Fractures and
    dislocations are common injuries which are diagnosed by a break in
    the bone or a joint displacement, often caused by great and sudden
    force applied to the area. Signs of this include obvious physical
    deformities, swelling, high levels of pain and loss of function to
    the injured area.
  • Concussions. A
    concussion is an injury to the head which most frequently occurs in
    American football. Usually, concussions are temporary conditions
    which most kids can fully recover from, but they can lead to
    long-term side effects if not properly handled. All concussions
    should be evaluated by a medical staff member before the affected
    child is allowed to participate in any physical activity.
  • Heat Illness. When
    athletes push themselves to the limits in hot or humid weather, they
    can suffer from heat exhaustion or possibly a heat stroke.
    Characterized by headaches, nausea, dizziness and sometimes a loss
    of consciousness, these types of injuries are usually caused by
    dehydration and overexertion in extreme levels of heat.
Injury Prevention
Luckily
for children and their parents, many sports injuries can be avoided.
While it is impossible to completely eliminate the risk of injury
from competitive sports, many of them can be prevented by using the
following suggestions:
  • Stretch and Warm Up.
    Warming up before physical
    activity is a great way to reduce your risk of injury and prepare
    the body for exercise. Any good warm up routine will include a
    combination of static and dynamic stretches. Stretching improves
    blood circulation and increases range of motion and flexibility,
    making it harder to overextend a joint and injure it.
  • Proper Equipment and
    Coaching.
    Proper equipment and
    coaching can go a long way in preventing all injuries, especially
    concussions. Wearing a mouth guard and approved helmet are huge
    factors in concussion prevention, but so is proper tackling
    technique taught by coaches. When all athletes are using
    satisfactory equipment and playing the game as safely as possible,
    injuries will happen less often.
  • Stay Safe in the
    Heat.
    The hotter the
    temperature gets, the more important it is to stay hydrated. On
    particularly hot and humid days, it is critical that athletes
    hydrate themselves before, during, and after practice. It is
    recommended that coaches observe and abide by this chart, provided
    by Nationwide Children’s.
The “RICE” Method
If and
when an accident occurs, most mild injuries can be treated using the
RICE method:
        Rest
the area until evaluated by a medical practitioner.
        Ice
the affected area for 15 minutes at a time until swelling subsides.
        Compress
the injured area with an ace bandage to control swelling.
        Elevate
the injured area above the heart to reduce swelling.
More
severe injuries can require additional treatment such as physical
therapy, surgery, etc. It is important to have all injuries evaluated
by a professional physician or member of the training staff for
proper diagnosis and recovery.
Insports
Centers is dedicated to providing a safe, injury-free environment for
all of our athletes. As Connecticut’s premier indoor sports facility,
we offer instructional programs for children as young as two years
old which focus on teaching sports fundamentals and safety. We also
offer a variety of sports leagues and tournaments, check out our website or connect with us on Facebook to find out more.