Having your children participate in youth sports is a very valuable decision for parents as there are a wide number of benefits that children experience when playing youth sports. For starters, there are the general health benefits that come along with the physical activity that youth sports promote. Children that engage in youth sports are less likely to be overweight, less likely to get Type 2 Diabetes, demonstrate improved motor skills that will help them in many facets of their life, and are more likely to continue to be active and healthy in adulthood.
Then you have the psychological advantages of youth sports that promote and cultivate a variety of life skills that will benefit a child throughout their life including: time management, fairness, collaboration, and leadership. Additionally, studies have found that children that participate in youth sports are less likely to suffer from depression.
However, there are some drawbacks to youth sports. The primary one being increased vulnerability to suffering injuries.
Here is a list of some of the most common sports injuries that kids suffer, as well as some quick tips for parents concerning treatment and injury prevention.
Starting off the list is one of the most preventable sports injuries, but also one of the more dangerous. Dehydration occurs when the body is receiving less fluid than it is shedding. Naturally, sports create an increased vulnerability for dehydration as the more physical activity a person exerts, the more they will sweat. For youth sports that take place outdoors during the summer, dehydration poses an even greater threat as heat and humidity cause increased perspiration.
It’s vital for parents of children who participate in sports ensure that their children are receiving adequate fluids before games, during games, and after games, in order to avoid dehydration. Another tip for avoiding dehydration is to have your child avoid consuming caffeine before and after sporting events, as caffeine dehydrates the body.
2. Twists, Strains, and Sprains
Twists and sprains occur when ligaments (sprains) and muscles (twists & strains) are stretched beyond their normal limits. A twist or strain can be painful, but will usually heal within a few days. A sprain, however, requires a much longer recovery time than a twist or strain, sometimes taking weeks or even months to heal depending on the ligament and the severity of the injury.
These common injuries are not completely preventable, but there are some steps that young athletes can take to lower their chances of sustaining a twist, strain, or sprain, including:
- Taking time to warm up before practice and games. Most youth coaches will have their teams stretch or lightly jog before team activities with this in mind.
- Pay attention to the body’s signs. If a young athlete feels discomfort in a particular part of their body, they should inform their coach or trainer. Sometimes the body will experience pain when a muscle or tendon is wearing down, to indicate to the brain to proceed with caution. Encourage young athletes to listen to their bodies and rest if needed.
- Use the appropriate equipment. Each youth sport will require different equipment to maintain safety. One common equipment-related cause of injuries is worn out athletic shoes.
Dislocations are injuries that occur in the joints when the ends of two bones are forced from their normal positions. The body has a number of joints, but the most common areas of dislocation for youth sports occur at the shoulder, ankle, and elbow.
Typically a dislocation will occur due to a hard collision with another athlete, or with the ground. A young athlete is still growing, which makes their shoulder, ankle, and elbow joints more susceptible to a dislocation injury than that of an adult athlete.
There is protective equipment that athletes can wear to help protect against dislocations, but avoiding them outright is impossible. Athletes that suffer a dislocation are have an increased likelihood of experiencing a dislocation of the injured joint again.
4. Knee Injuries (Tears)
The knee is a common site of athletic injury. Knee injuries can range from minor sprains and strains to major injuries in which critical ligaments or cartilage in the knee are damaged.
The four ligaments located in the knee are the medial collateral ligament (MCL), the lateral collateral ligament (LCL), the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), and the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL).
Knee injuries can occur from a hit from another player or a fall to the ground. However, they can also occur if an athlete lands awkwardly or makes a sudden turn. Coaches should teach athletes proper technique as well as focus on lower body and core strengthening exercises to prevent these injuries.
Concussions are another common sports injury, and one that rightfully receives a great deal of attention in the media and as a discussion topic amongst parents. A concussion is an injury to the brain that results in temporary disruption in normal brain function and activity. Concussions occur when a person suffers a significant blow to the head or a violent shaking of the head. In contact sports such as football, hockey, and soccer where the head is used as a tool for scoring the ball, concussions can be common.
It’s important for parents and coaches to be educated about concussions and understand the warning signs. Any time a young athlete suffers a hit to the head, they should be removed from competition and evaluated for symptoms. Concussion symptoms include headaches, dizziness, blurry vision, appearing confused and slow to answer questions.
Treat Your Child’s Sport Injury at the Urgency Room
Having your child participate in youth sports is great for their development, physical and mental health, and provides them with a fun activity to enjoy with their peers. However, injuries can occur.
If your child experiences one of the sports injuries listed above, or another sports injury not listed here, bring them to The Urgency Room for timely and experienced health care. We have three convenient locations in Woodbury, Vadnais Heights and Eagan. By seeking treatment at The Urgency Room, you spare yourself from sitting in the waiting room for long while your child’s symptoms get worse.