Playing sports teaches children teamwork, responsibility and respect. Parent sign their children up for sports each season and spend countless hours watching soccer, football, baseball and more. Some games are nail biters and some are less than thrilling, but any game that ends without injury is a good one. Unfortunately, not all do end that way.
Children are injured while playing sports at a rate that is too high for any parent to handle. While all injuries cannot be prevented, many can. Here is a closer look at the most common sports injuries in children and the steps parents and coaches can take to help minimize the risk.
1. Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL)
It is estimated that more than 50,000 ACL injuries occur in female athletes every year. These athletes are at the high school and intercollegiate varsity levels. Most, interestingly, do not occur from player-to-player collisions. Instead, they occur because the athlete attempts a sharp change of direction, lands poorly from a jump, or pivots in the wrong way.
One of the best ways to prevent ACL injuries is strength training. It is also suggested that athletes be taught how to pivot properly and undertake jump routines during practice sessions. These exercises are most beneficial if they are started at a young age.
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury. People mistakenly believe they have to have had lost consciousness in order to have sustained a concussion. This is imply not true. A concussion is diagnosed by focusing on symptoms, performing a neurological exam and assessing an athlete’s ability to pay attention to complex brain tasks. Concussions need to be diagnosed and treated in order to prevent secondary injuries down the road.
There is no surefire way to avoid a concussion. Players are encouraged to always wear safety gear and to avoid hard hits and head-to-body contact.
3. Heat Illness
Sometimes referred to as heat stroke, heat illness is not exactly the same thing. Heat illness is often a precursor to heat stroke if it is not treated promptly. Any athlete is prone to heat illness, but especially those that play sports outside in the heat of the summer.
Heat illnesses can be prevented by practicing or playing sports midday when the sun is highest in the sky. Early recognition of symptoms, fluid replacement and a warm up before and slow down after strenuous exercise can all help prevent heat illness. It is also important that athletes stay hydrated even if they don’t feel thirsty.
4. Knee Injuries
Knee injuries in young athletes may be acute or a result of repetitive motion. Knee injuries can result in pain, swelling, instability and stiffness. One of the most common types of knee injuries in young athletes is called patellofemoral pain syndrome. This is often called runner’s knee and results in pain at the front of the knee. It can be caused by overuse or a direct strike to the kneecap.
Knee injuries can be prevented by proper strength training. They can be minimized by being recognized at the earliest onset of symptoms and seeking treatment. Athletes who have sustained an injury should rest for several days and avoid the playing field. A doctor will be able to tell the athlete when it is safe to return to play.
There are two types of injuries: overuse and acute. Acute injuries are the result of a single incident. Overuse injuries are the result of repetitive motion and more common than acute. Examples of overuse injuries include runner’s knee, swimmer’s shoulder, shin splints, jumper’s knee and Achilles tendinitis.
Even though the human body can adapt to physical stress, the breakdown and build up of tissues can cause damage. When tissues breakdown faster than they can build up, an injury is typically the result. Most of these types of injuries can be prevented with proper training. For most people, it is not a good idea to increase physical activity or training by more than 10 percent weekly. This gives the body enough time to recover and respond.
It is troubling when little ones are hurt while playing a sport, but the good news is that many injuries can be prevented through common sense, adequate training and proper play. When a child is injured on the sporting field, a parent may have the right to seek compensation for medical costs associated with that injury.
If your child has been injured during a sporting event in Fort Lauderdale, reach out to our team of personal injury attorneys. We will review the details of the injury and the events surrounding it, and we will advise you of the options available to you under current law. Call today for more information or browse our website to learn more about our firm and the types of cases we handle. We are here for you and your family.