There is a growing epidemic of preventable youth sports injuries that are destroying athletic hopes and taking dreams away. In the U.S., about 30 million children and teens participate in some form of organized sports, and more than 3.5 million injuries each year, which cause some loss of time of participation, are experienced by the participants. Almost 1/3 of all injuries incurred in childhood are sports-related injuries.
Stats from The American Academy of Pediatrics: More than 3.5 million children ages 14 and younger get hurt annually playing sports or participating in recreational activities. Approximately 8,000 children are treated in emergency rooms each day for sports-related injures. Among children, those aged 15-17 experience the highest emergency room visits for sports injuries. Sports and recreational activities contribute to approximately 21 percent of all traumatic brain injuries among American children. More than 775,000 children, ages 14 and younger, are treated in hospital emergency rooms for sports-related injuries each year.
Yet, Only 42% of high schools have access to athletic training services and 96% of Americans feel it’s important for young athletes to be evaluated by a qualified professional before they begin playing sports.
What can you do to help prevent your children from injuries this year?
1. Injury Prevention & Conditioning Training
High school athletes require sport specific and Injury prevention training. Many injuries can be prevented with regular conditioning that begins prior to the formal sports season. Injuries often occur due to biomechanical imbalances or when athletes suddenly increase the duration, intensity, or frequency of their activity. For example we know through research that female athletes are more prone for knee injury compared to males, due to anatomy differences and ligament laxity. Creating a training program with the help of a Sports Chiropractor or a strength and conditioning specialist can optimize performance and at the same time minimize the chance of injury. Using proper technique for the position being played is also an important key to preventing injury.
2. Nutrition & Hydration
Just as proper physical techniques should be part of every athlete’s safety routine, maintaining adequate nutrition and hydration is also important. By following basic nutrition and hydration tips, athletes can stay at peak performance before, during, and after activity. Athletes must drink fluids to stay adequately hydrated, as even a loss of 1 percent body weight can reduce athletic performance. Athletes should consume at least 16 ounces of fluid two hours prior to exercise, and 5 to 10 ounces during exercise, taken every 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Prevent Overuse
Overuse injuries are subtle and usually occur over time. They are the result of repetitive micro-trauma to the tendons, bones, and joints. Athletes who play sports year-round are more likely than others to experience overuse injuries because they are not giving their bodies a chance to rest and recover. Your child should take at least one season off a year. Also, suggest ways for your child to mix it up. Encourage your child to play different sports during the year to avoid using the same muscle groups continuously. Taking regular breaks and playing other sports is essential to skill development and injury prevention.
4. Spot Minor Injuries
One of the most important things a parent can do is to recognize and address a minor injury. Sometimes an injury may be overlooked as “minor” and a proper evaluation is never done. An injury left untreated can have significant and even permanent effects, especially for bodies that are still growing and developing. Most children will let you know when they are hurt, but for those kids who try to tough it out, parents should watch for signs of injury such as avoiding putting weight on a certain body part or favoring one side of the body over the other. If your child tells you of any sort of pain or you see they are hurting take them in to get evaluated by a Sports Physician.
An injury to a teen athlete can be a significant disappointment for the teen, the family, and the coaches. There are many proactive things you can do to lessen the worry of your child getting hurt. Find out what you can do to prevent your kids from injuries