Youth sports are great. They teach your little one the importance of teamwork, sharing, and sportsmanship. They’re also a perfect way to spend time outside, get in those recommended 60 minutes of exercise, and — hopefully — burn off a little bit of your child’s endless energy. With that in mind, it’s no mystery as to why about 70 percent of children are engaged in team or individual sports. That’s about 45 million kids hitting the court or field to play their sport of choice.
Despite the many benefits of your child playing sports, one worry may keep you from jotting their name down on the sign-up sheet: injuries. While you can’t always prevent an injury from occurring, you can work with you little athlete to develop strategies and habits that can help prevent injuries. A little extra work can go a long way toward preventing time spent off the field or in physical therapy.
If your young athlete does get hurt, you need a great pediatrician. At Smita Tandon, MD, Dr. Tandon, Dr. Angeli Suarez, and the rest of the team are dedicated to making sure your child stays happy and healthy. Whether you’re looking for a sports physical or treatment for a recent injury, we can help. We truly put your child first.
Sports injuries by the numbers
Less than 10% of children who play sports get injured, but a quick glance at the numbers can be frightening for a concerned parent. The National SAFE KIDS Campaign and the American Academy of Pediatrics provide a good look at the number of injuries:
- More than 3.5 million children ages 14 and younger get hurt annually playing sports and participating in recreational activities.
- Sports and recreational activities contribute to approximately 21% of all traumatic brain injuries among American children.
- More than 775,000 children ages 14 and younger are treated in hospital emergency rooms for sports-related injuries each year.
- Most organized sports-related injuries — 62 percent — occur during practice.
According to the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine, one-third of parents do not instruct their children to take the same safety precautions for practice that they would during a game. It’s important to let your child know that safety is important no matter how the game is being played.
Helping your young athlete avoid injury
Enforce an off-season
The American Council on Exercise has found that children who play a single sport year-round are the most likely to get injured. Try to encourage your child to play multiple sports to act as an off-season to their favorite.
Have at least one rest day per week
All athletes need to have one or more days off a week. Even professional leagues don’t play or practice every single day.
Practice and play with good form
Good form goes a long way towards preventing injury. Although some injuries occur because of freak accidents, many can be avoided with proper training. Sports stars are a combination of athletic prowess and tireless work on form.
Use the right equipment
It may seem silly that soccer and football cleats differ, but they serve different purposes. Your child will be less likely to injure themselves when supplied with proper tools of the trade.
Regular breaks for rest and hydration help prevent injuries. An exhausted child is more likely to make mistakes. In the summer, hydration needs to be a top priority. If practices or games are scheduled during the heat of the day, be on the lookout for signs of dehydration and heat injuries.
Don’t play through the pain
Playing through pain isn’t tough, it’s dumb. Playing through injury can lead to further aggravation of an already tender area or a lapse in form that injures another area of the body.
At Smita Tandon, MD, we’re here to help you prepare for the season, and we’re ready to lend a hand if injury strikes. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone today.