How to Prevent Sports Injuries in Children
With warmer weather quickly approaching, many children’s sports leagues have begun, or are getting ready to start their summer season. Childhood sports offers kids tremendous health benefits, including increased activity levels as well as a social outlet to help prevent children from staying inside all summer long. While the benefits are overwhelming, there is a big cause for concern in the “little leagues”. This concern is childhood sports injuries.
The risks of sports-related injuries are increasing with higher participation rates. Based on a report published by the Centers for Disease Control, over 2.6 million children up to the age of 19 are treated in the emergency department each year for sports related injuries.
While it’s normal to expect the occasional scrape and bruise if your child plays sports, there are other common sports related injuries in children we need to be aware of. The most common include:
- Muscle sprains and strains
- Knee injuries
- Elbow injuries
- Broken bones
- Stress fractures
- Head injuries
Preventing sports injuries in children may seem impossible, but there are precautions we can take to help children who play sports to avoid serious injuries. It is recommended to enroll children in an organized sports team through a school or a club. Organized sports teams almost always have coaches and staff who are trained in following safety protocols and watching out for fair play and child safety.
It is important that children get the appropriate training, warm-ups and cool-downs their small bodies need to keep up with the exercise at hand. Also, keeping children hydrated is extremely important and can help avoid injuries. It is also advised to properly apply sunscreen if sports activities will be held outside.
Depending on the sport, there is also appropriate gear children should have to prevent injury. For example, soccer players should wear cleats to avoid foot, ankle and knee injuries
We should continue to encourage our children to participate in sports activities, but we do need to be aware of all precautions and safety measures associated with the sport to avoid potential injuries.