For kids, getting back to school after the long summer break is filled with the excitement of meeting up with their friends and starting up again with their favorite sports. But did you know that more than 775,000 children, ages 14 and younger, and are treated in emergency rooms for sports-related injuries each year?
Apart from the general sports injuries such as fractures, injuries specific to fall sports are due to sudden or overstretching of muscles and other soft tissues. Common injuries among school-age athletes include bruises, sprains, strains and fractures; as well as overuse injuries. So as your child gets back on the field or court this fall, there are ways to ensure that injuries are minimized.
- Kids are particularly at risk of sporting injuries because their excitement sometimes overcomes their ability to accurately assess the risk of injury. With the assistance of a coach, try to determine if your child is physically and mentally capable of participating in a particular sporting activity. This can be accomplished by performing some basic physical tests to evaluate their physical skills. If they do not meet the necessary requirements, some sport-specific conditioning prior to participating in the sport may be implemented.
- Make sure that your child is setting realistic goals in terms of increasing strength and endurance, or weight loss. Avoid unhealthy weight control methods such as restricting food and liquids. Educate your child on the importance of eating a well-balanced diet, keeping with the increased activity levels.
- Make the school authorities and coaches aware of any particular medical condition such as asthma that your child might have. Inquire about the facilities available at school to address any medical emergency that may occur on the playing field. It is very important for parents to keep lines of communication open with the coaches and other school authorities.
- In hot and humid weather conditions, make sure your child drinks enough water before, during and after sports to avoid getting dehydrated. Impress on your child the importance of speaking up if feeling dizzy or weak, and not continuing with the game, to avoid serious injury.
- Ensure that all the equipment that your child uses in a particular sport is in order and working condition. Your child should wear apt protective devices while playing and ensure that gloves, shoes and helmets fit snugly.
- A good warm up and cool down is imperative to any sports activities and should be insisted upon by the coach. It prepares your child’s body for any activity and can prevent many common injuries.
By taking a few precautions, you can ensure that your kids can participate in their favorite sports as painlessly as possible. So this fall, enjoy watching your child participate in sports while keeping them safe and free of injury. According to Dr. Michael Khair, Carrell Clinic Orthopedic, “If your child does sustain what appears to be a significant injury, make sure they see a specialist as soon as you can get them in. Most injuries can be overcome with proper treatment and early evaluation can speed up recovery.”