Learn to identify and reduce sports-related injuries to your child
Playing team sports may build your young athlete’s competence, confidence, and character, but sports can also be responsible for serious injuries. In fact, 2.6 million children end up in the ER every year with sports and recreation-related injuries, about half of which are overuse injuries.
Quad City sports medicine physician and orthopedic surgeon Dr. Charles Cassel, ORA Orthopedics, explains that while you might not be able to control the acute injuries – the twisted ankle or broken arm – careful observation and good judgment may help you stop an overuse injury from developing into long-term trouble.
More dangerous in children than in adults
Dr. Cassel says injuries are more dangerous in children than in adults, because children often don’t recover as quickly or completely. Their bones and joints are still developing and are more vulnerable to repetitive stress. Continuing to throw or run with an overused muscle, tendon, or bone could cause dangerous or even permanent injury.
Overuse injuries are especially common in children who specialize in one sport. That is, young baseball, basketball, and track team members who train exclusively year-round for one sport – and even play on more than one team – stress the same muscles over time. Other athletes may use poor form. Both activities leave young muscles particularly vulnerable to microtrauma.
How can you help?
Encouraging your kids to play multiple sports in-season will help them develop gradually and healthfully. If they complain of aches and pains, encourage them to rest. Finally, keep in touch with their coaches to see how you can reinforce the concepts of proper technique at home.
Overuse versus Acute Injury
If you think it’s tough to tell for sure whether your child has a serious injury, you’re not alone! It’s hard to know the difference between a normal muscle ache following a vigorous practice and a pain that signals something more significant.
What to Tell Your Kids
It’s simple, really: Tell your kids to take pain seriously! If they have discomfort, they should tell their coach, and tell you. It could mean the difference between a long and happy career of school athletics or one that ends early.
If your student athlete does experience injury after hours, ORA Orthopedics offers Urgent OrthoCARE, 2300 53rd Ave, Bettendorf, IA, as an alternative to overcrowded emergency rooms. The clinic has in-house digital x-ray to help treat and diagnose injury at the time of your visit. MRI services are also available and appointments can conveniently be scheduled once insurance authorization has been obtained. No physician referral is needed unless required by your insurance.
OrthoCARE Hours: Monday – Thursday, 5:00-8:00 pm.