Now that school has begun, sports are in full swing. From football to field hockey and everything in between, today’s students participate in sports more now than ever before.
Physical activity is good for body, mind and soul. However, with its benefits come disadvantages such as injury. Even though high-contact sports pose a greater risk for traumatic injury, the majority of injuries are from overuse, especially in young athletes when excessive stress is placed on tendons, joints, bones and muscle.
In fact, growth plate fractures are as common as sprains and can often be treated easily. Your child needs to be evaluated by a knowledgeable medical professional since these injuries can be as common as sprains, if not more so.
In a growing child, point tenderness over a bone should always be checked by a medical provider even if there is minimal swelling or limitation in motion.
The most common injuries are:
- Sprains — injuries to ligaments
- Growth plate fractures — injuries to growing bones
- Strains — injuries to muscles
- Stress fractures — injuries to bones
Here are some practical tips by the American Academy of Pediatrics that can help reduce the risk of injury:
- Take time off. Plan to have at least one day off per week and at least one month off per year from training for a particular sport to allow the body to recover.
- Gear up. Players should wear appropriate and properly fit protective equipment such as pads (neck, shoulder, elbow, chest, knee, shin), helmets, mouthpieces, face guards, protective cups, and eyewear.
- Strengthen muscles. Conditioning exercises during practice strengthens muscles used in play.
- Increase flexibility by incorporating stretching exercises at practice, as well as before and after games.
- Use the proper technique for your sport.
- Take breaks. Don’t avoid rest periods during practice and games.
- Play safely. Follow the rules against headfirst sliding (baseball and softball), spearing (football), and checking (hockey).
- Do not play through pain.
- Avoid heat-related illness by drinking plenty of fluids before, during and after physical exertion.
If medical attention is necessary, the ER-experienced medical staff at New England Urgent Care can provide a thorough evaluation of your child as well as X-rays, splints and durable medical supplies including surgical boots, crutches and slings, if needed.
Source: American Academy of Pediatrics