LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Baseball and soccer are in full swing, and summer sports are just around the corner.
Nearly half of all sports injuries that occur (more than 5 million annually) are due to overuse.
A common story might sound like this: A nine-year-old boy participates in baseball games and practices 12 months of the year, plays on travel teams, the local park's little league team and then throws balls in his own backyard every night. Then due to the stress on his still developing body, he suffers an arm injury that permanently sidelines him, and keeps him off the field he loves. His injury doesn't just affect his life now, but may keep him from learning the lifelong lessons that athletic participation teaches.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) and the STOP Sports Injuries campaign share some simple tips to help keep kids on the field and out of the operating room:
1. Get a pre-season physical
2. Properly warm up and cool down before and after an activity
3. Obtain instruction on proper training and technique
4. Develop skills that are age appropriate
5. Increase training gradually
6. Don't specialize in one sport
7. Don't play year-round - rest at the end of each season
8. Don't play through the pain - speak up if you are hurt
Most overuse injuries are preventable, but if left untreated, they may require surgery and have lifelong consequences.
On this Medical Monday, Dr. James C. Tucker, Sports Medicine Physician at Arkansas Specialty Orthopaedics, is talking about what parents need to consider when it comes to sports safety for their kids.
He recommends all parents remember the following:
- Young athletes are not merely small adults. Their bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments are still growing. This makes them more susceptible to injury.
- Make sure a child warms up properly by stretching slowly and gradually. This prevents muscle strain.
- Parents must consider their child's complaints and never require him or her to "work through the pain."
- In the event that an injury has occurred, take the necessary time to let the muscle heal before a child returns to sports.
(Source: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons)