In Recent years a new medical specialty has emerged due to the high increase in youth participation in sport. The Youth Sports Physician .Not only sport participation but length of time,(Soccer goes year round ) impact the athlete and his potential for injury. This and other specific dynamics can set the athlete up for early visits to the doctors office and even worse the hospital. Read on to find out vital information on youth athletes injuries.
By MARY SHEDDEN of The Tampa Tribune Published: March 14, 2008
What’s all the rage with young athletes these days? Hospital visits.With more than 30 million children playing organized sports in the United States today, the opportunity for injury is on the upswing. Almost 1.9 million children under 15 years old were treated in emergency rooms for sports-related injuries in 2002, says the most recent information available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Another 2 million children were treated that year for less-serious sports injuries.Earl Garcia, longtime football coach at Hillsborough High, says one of the best weapons to prevent serious injuries is simple and takes place before the season begins: education. Coaches and his school’s certified athletic trainer are diligent about explaining the risks, proper procedures and injury responses for the young athletes and their families.“We have to teach the players first … and then the parents,” he says. “Parents need to be educated.”Growing bodies react to injury far differently, and treatment can affect long-term physical development, says Jeff Konin, executive director of the Sports Medicine and Related Trauma Institute (SMART) at the University of South Florida.
The Tampa-based research center — which also provides sports safety training and athletic trainers at 10 Hillsborough County high schools — preaches injury prevention over short-term Band-Aid treatments, Konin says.“I can treat the condition and make them feel better, but the real question is: How did they get it? “The problem kids are playing more than their bodies are ready for. Overuse: When young athletes train year-round at a specific sport, they overuse growing body parts. That increases the risk of injury, in particular to soft tissues, says the American Academy of Pediatrics. Overuse can damage tendons, joints, bones and muscles.Competition: Kids and their parents often want to play at a level beyond their physical ability. That sometimes translates to athletes playing on multiple teams at the same time, and coaches may be unaware of the cumulative wear and tear taking place, says Lyle Micheli, author of “The Sports Medicine Bible for Young Athletes.”Modified techniques: Kids imitate techniques used by professional athletes and don’t realize they may be hurting their bodies, Konin says. A major league pitcher trying to squeeze one more season out of his arm may switch to a sideways throw.
That same move can be disastrous for a teen athlete whose growth plates are still maturing.More diagnosis: More kids are being treated for injuries because trainers and doctors have a better idea of how to identify and treat an injury. It also helps as more certified athletic trainers are added to school athletic programs, Konin says. Of the many injuries breaks, are the easy ones to fix. We put a cast on it and Mother Nature takes care of it. When you tear a ligament, it doesn’t heal traditionally. ACL: The tear or rupture in the anterior cruciate ligament is most prevalent in running, basketball and soccer, where athletes need to make sharp changes of direction, according to Micheli’s book. Female athletes are four to six times more likely to tear their ACL, which prompted the SMART institute to launch a local training program teaching techniques meant to improve flexibility, strength, power and balance.Concussions: This brain injury caused by a bump or blow to the head is most often seen in sports like soccer, baseball, football, diving and equestrian riding. An estimated 21 percent of all childhood traumatic brain injuries in the nation are sports-related, says the National Center for Sports Safety.Rotator Cuff and repetitive motion injuries: Stress or hairline fractures and tendonitis are common and often related to overuse.
They don’t always show up on X-rays, but they are painful, says the National Institute of Health’s Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease division.Growth Plate Injuries: Developing tissue at the end of long bones (such as hand, forearm, upper and lower leg and foot bones) is an area prone to adolescent injury, says the NIH. The risk ends once the plates are replaced with solid bone.Heat-related illness: Nearly all Floridians understand the severity that dehydration and heat exhaustion present. But heat injuries are especially dangerous to children, who sweat less than adults and need a higher core temperature to trigger sweat glands, the NIH says.The Soultion is, it does no good if parents are passive — sitting in the bleachers when somebody passes out. You don’t have to have a medical degree, but you need to know what you’re going to do.
Educate: Parents are important in ensuring athlete safety, Hillsborough High’s Garcia says. They are the ones who can hydrate a child before practice, and know to look for soreness and latent pain when a player gets home.Prepare: Konin says parents are critical in recreational sports, where they can help create procedures for dealing with injuries. Most recreational programs are run by volunteers, and it’s up to parents to make sure those groups have the appropriate information and tools available to ensure safety for all children playing.
Organizations from the CDC to the National Center for Sports Safety offer a wealth of information.R.I.C.E.: The mantra of athletic trainers, it’s a simple rule any athlete can use. Rest (for at least 48 hours); Ice (the injured area for 20 minutes at a time, four to eight times a day); Compress (the injury with wraps, casts or splints to help heal injured ankles, knees and wrists); and Elevate (the injured area above the level of the heart to reduce swelling).
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, free concussion safety education kit: http://www.cdc.gov/ConcussionInYouthSports/default…
National Center for Sports Safety and PREPARE training course: www.sportssafety.org
American Academy of Pediatrics: www.aap.org
American Medical Society for Sports Medicine: www.amssm.org
National Athletic Trainers Association: www.nata.org
National SAFE KIDS Campaign: www.safekids.org
National Youth Sports Safety Foundation: www.nyssf.org