ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — More than 35 million kids play an organized sport in the United States. But, did you know almost a third of kids that play a team sport get injured seriously enough to miss practice or games? April is national youth sports safety month. Here are some tips on how parents can keep their kids safe out on the field.
Making friends, getting exercise, and having fun are just a few benefits for kids taking part in sports. But those benefits do come with some risks. In fact, about 21 percent of all traumatic brain injuries among kids were from sports and recreational activities.
“We were playing baseball. The ball hit my head and it hurt really bad,” Angelo Neumann told Ivanhoe.
So how can parents protect their kids? First, get a preseason physical. This allows parents to find out if their young athlete is fit to play. Also researchers in Europe studied nearly four thousand kids and found that a correct warm up, focusing on the stability of the legs and feet and falling technique can reduce sports injuries in soccer by 48 percent. Nate Bower, PT with Champion Sports Medicine introduced an injury prevention program, which includes a proper warm up, at an Alabama school soccer team and so far…
“We have seen a 60 percent overall reduction in lower extremity injuries,” shared Bower.
And staying properly hydrated during practice or a game can protect kids from heat-related illness. About 9,000 high school athletes are treated for this every year. Watch out for any signs of confusion, dizziness, or rapid breathing. These could be warning signs that your young athlete needs to load up on water.
Another tip for parents: make sure your kid gets enough rest. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends kids take off at least one day per week and one month per year from training for a particular sport to allow the body to recover.
Contributors to this news report include: Milvionne Chery, Producer; Bob Walko, Editor
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WAYS TO PREVENT SPORTS INJURIES IN KIDS
BACKGROUND: About 30 million children and teens in the United States participate in some form of organized sport. More than 3.5 million injuries each year are experienced by the participants. Almost one-third of all injuries incurred in childhood are sports-related injuries. By far, the most common injuries are sprains and strains. Contact sports such as football can be expected to result in a higher number of injuries than a noncontact sport such as swimming. However, all types of sports have a potential for injury, whether from the trauma of contact with other players or from overuse or misuse of a body part. Sports and recreational activities contribute to approximately 21 percent of all traumatic brain injuries among American children, and almost 50 percent of head injuries sustained in sports or recreational activities occur during bicycling, skateboarding, or skating incidents. More than 775,000 children, ages 14 and younger, are treated in hospital emergency rooms for sports-related injuries each year, and most of the injuries occurred as a result of falls, being struck by an object, collisions, or overexertion during unorganized or informal sports activities.
SAFETY FOR YOUNG ATHLETES: Because young athletes are still growing, they are at a greater risk for injury than adults. The consequences of overdoing a sport can include injuries that impair growth, and may lead to long-term health problems. Fortunately, many youth sports injuries can be prevented. Some of the more effective ways to prevent these injuries include age-specific coaching, appropriate physical conditioning, and proper use of equipment. In addition, coaches and parents can prevent injuries by fostering an atmosphere of healthy competition that emphasizes confidence, cooperation, and a positive self-image, rather than just winning. Being in proper physical condition to play a sport and knowing and abiding by the rules of a sport are highly important strategies, along with wearing appropriate protective gear for the specific sport being played. Knowing how to correctly use athletic equipment, always warming up before playing, staying hydrated, and avoiding playing when very tired or in pain are also very important strategies in helping prevent injuries.
CONTINUING RESEARCH IN SPORTS INJURY PREVENTION: A report from the Institute of Medicine called for greater attention to concussions across the age spectrum, but especially in younger kids. Epidemiologists from the Datalys Center for Sports Injury Research and Prevention in Indiana analyzed information collected by athletic trainers. They found that roughly one in 20 college football players sustained at least one concussion in the course of a season. Among high school students, that number was one in 14, and among youth players, it was one in 30. However, lead researcher Tom Dompier suspects that last number is an underestimate. Other researchers are trying to better identify concussion symptoms that can show up long after a game. These can include behavioral changes like temper tantrums and irritability, according to Kristy Arbogast, co–scientific director of the Center for Injury Research Prevention at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. In some children, concussion can cause subtle disruptions to ocular motor coordination that were not routinely evaluated in the past. These can lead to headaches, dizziness, and nausea when kids return to school and try to focus on the blackboard. “We’re finally getting some clarity on what concussions look like at different ages and in different children,” Arbogast says. This will allow physicians to diagnose and treat more cases.
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