Is Your Child an Athlete? Tips for Keeping Them Safe and Injury-Free

Find out how to protect your athlete from sports injuries while allowing them to participate in the activities they enjoy.

There’s no argument that kids can gain lifelong physical and emotional benefits from youth sports. However, supporting an active lifestyle comes with risk. Every year, more than 2.6 million children age 19 and under visit emergency rooms for treatment of sports and recreation-related injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

No matter how your child gets hurt, pediatric injuries can require unique types of treatment and recovery. Pediatric injury specialist Leah Brown, MD, and the staff of Urgently Ortho in Scottsdale, Arizona, have the knowledge and experience necessary to treat your child’s injuries effectively. Their expertise ensures that your child receives the professional care necessary to make them happy and healthy.

As pediatric injury specialists, the Urgently Ortho staff works to educate parents about preventing youth injuries. Here are a few tips for how you can reduce your child’s risk of getting hurt while having fun.

Check for sports readiness

Before your child hits the field, make sure they’re physically able to handle the demands of the activity they choose by getting a physical. This important step can help determine whether your child is ready to participate in sports. It can also screen for undiagnosed heart conditions and asthma. Since different sports require different types of stamina, strength, and abilities, make sure to mention your child’s plans during the examination. 

Wear protective equipment

You can’t underestimate the importance of wearing the right protective equipment for a specific activity, whether or not it’s an organized sport. Kids can get hurt on backyard trampolines, bicycles, and scooters as easily as they can playing football or soccer. 

When selecting protective equipment, keep these guidelines in mind:

Avoid sport specialization

Concentrating on just one sport increases your child’s risk of experiencing overuse injuries, which account for up to 50% of athletic injuries. Ultimately, these injuries can result in longer recovery times and endanger your child’s future participation in an activity they enjoy. 

Diversification allows your child to test their different skills and work new parts of their body, which can benefit their abilities across all sports. They’ll also avoid the risk of social isolation, emotional stress, and eventual burnout that can result from concentrating on one activity exclusively, says the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).   

Watch for signs of concussion

Concussions occur when your child bangs their head or they experience an injury that jolts their head back and forth. Most school and organized sports leagues have criteria for testing athletes who experience a head injury. However, your child can also get a concussion from a fight, a bicycle fall, or a car accident. 

It’s important to make sure your child gets a medical examination if they suffer any type of head injury. Concussion symptoms include headache, blurred vision, slurred speech, and memory problems. These can occur right away or days after an incident and may indicate a serious injury. If your child’s head injury includes seizures, passing out, vomiting, and/or a severe headache that worsens, you should take them to an emergency room immediately.

Don’t encourage playing through pain

While we’ve all cheered as a professional athlete gives their last push to cross the finish line or score a goal despite being injured, it’s not a strategy that benefits young athletes. Pediatric fractures that heal without medical attention can alter the growth and development of a joint. The results can include permanent damage and future diseases such as osteoarthritis. 

This may also cause young athletes to hide their pain, even when it could be serious, which is especially concerning when it may not be visible to coaches or parents until the symptoms become severe.  

Find out more about protecting your child from getting hurt when playing sports or other activities. Schedule an appointment at Urgently Ortho online or call our office to arrange a consultation.  

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