Sports Injuries and Children
Many parents have experienced apprehension and fear when allowing their child to participate in sports. While there are certainly advantages to playing team sports, such as building self-confidence and encouraging cooperation among peers, current statistics indicate that more children than ever are getting hurt.
Injury Caused by Chronic Overuse
Experts report that they’re seeing more incidents of injury caused by chronic overuse. Doing too much, too fast can put tremendous strain on developing bodies. Once unheard of, physicians are now seeing tennis elbow, tendinitis, pinched nerves and stress fractures in children as young as eight-years-old. Some of these injuries have the potential to seriously affect the normal growth process.
Well-meaning parents, coaches and trainers are advised to exercise caution before overworking youngsters. Although it's not always something parents or children want to hear from their medical professional, variety, moderation and rest is essential to avoiding permanent damage.
Traumatic Brain Injury
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that children and teens are more likely to suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI), including concussion, and take longer to recover than adults. They also say that, although a TBI may at first seem mild, the injury can lead to life-long impairment that can affect memory, behavior, learning and/or emotion. The CDC found that the activities associated with the highest TBI emergency room visits included bicycling, football, playground activities, basketball and soccer.
Many manufacturers of head gear are marketing their products as the answer to avoiding sports-related head injuries, including concussion. The growing concern over the rising number of girls suffering concussions while playing soccer has parents and players relying on the use of protective head gear. There is much debate among medical professionals with regards to whether or not protective gear has any effect in preventing head injury to players. Many girls admit to playing even harder when wearing head protection and medical professionals caution parents and players of this false sense of security.
Parents, coaches and trainers can greatly help reduce sports-related injuries in children. Discussing preconditioning and strengthening of head and neck muscles, recognizing the signs and symptoms of TBI and actively enforcing rules and regulations of play is essential for protecting children during practice and game play.