Clinton Township Chiropractor Explains Sports Injury and Children
The National Institutes of Health estimate that over 38 Million children and adolescents participate in sporting events each year. With increased participation and higher levels of competition being introduced to younger athletes, it is not uncommon for young athletes to sustain a sports injury. In a recent report, 65% of all sports-, recreation-, and exercise-related (SRE) injury visits to the emergency department were sustained by those 19 years of age or younger. The most common youth sports injuries include sprains/strains, contusions, lacerations, heat related illness, fractures, and concussions. Proper diagnosis and treatment of these injuries is necessary to prevent further injury and extended healing times. Even more important is prevention through proper education, training, and the use of protective equipment.
Prevention begins with healthy athletes. Young athletes require good nutrition and hydration to meet the demands put on their developing bodies. In addition to a balanced diet, whole food supplementation may be needed to meet specific dietary needs. Hydration is especially important to maintain proper function and to prevent overheating. It is important that parents and coaches actively monitor young athletes to ensure that they are taking in adequate fluids. A good rule of thumb is to start hydrating athletes with plain water a few hours before competing, and continuing to hydrate before and after completion. Sports drinks such as Gatorade® are not needed unless activity lasts longer than an hour.
Training is the second component to preventing injuries in athletes. Young athletes need to understand not only proper technique and the rules of their sports, but they need to prepare their bodies physically for participation. Functional movement assessments are a commonly used tool in determining where an athlete requires improvement. These assessments are quickly completed and scored based on how each task is performed. This score will not only highlight areas vulnerable to injury, but may also help the athlete improve their performance.
Another key component to injury prevention is sport specific equipment. Ensuring that young athletes have proper protective gear such as helmets and pads, shin guards, and mouth pieces; are all important in reducing collision injuries that include contusions and concussions. Proper footwear is also important to prevent ankle injuries, which is one of the most common injuries with all sports. If you are unsure of what the proper equipment or fit is appropriate for your child’s sport, or if you’d like to learn more about nutrition and functional movement assessments; please contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our doctors.
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2. Caine, D. PhD, Caine, C. PhD, & Maffulli, N. MD, MS, PhD. (2006). Incidence and distribution of pediatric sports-related injuries. Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, 16(6), 500-513.
3. Keep young athletes healthy and fit. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.acatoday.org/content_css.cfm?CID=2188
4. NIH. (2009, July). Childhood sports injuries and their prevention: A guide for parents with ideas for kids. Retrieved from http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Sports_Injuries/child_sports_injuries.asp