According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the Safe Kids USA Campaign Website, www.safekids.org, participation in organized sports is on the rise. Nearly 30 million children and adolescents participate in youth sports in the United States. This increase in play has resulted in some interesting statistics regarding injuries among America’s young athletes:
- Overuse injuries are responsible for nearly half of all sports injuries to middle and high school students.
- Although 62 percent of organized sports-related injuries occur during practice, one-third of parents and coaches do not have children take the same safety precautions at practice that they would during a game.
- According to the CDC, more than half of all sports injuries in children are preventable.
- By age 13, 70 percent of kids drop out of youth sports. The top three reasons: adults, coaches and parents.
Although there is no “quick fix” to address all of the issues above, there are a few strategies which can assist with preventing and treating injuries in the youth athlete as quickly and efficiently as possible.
- Encourage kids to play a variety of sports, and ensure that they are stretching and properly hydrating before and after all practices and games.
- Ensure that proper protective gear is worn at practice sessions, whenever possible.
- Keep it fun! Kids already feel pressure from their peers to perform well. Encourage them to learn the sport and give it their all. But, remind them that it is important to take care of their bodies and minds. Help kids to see the “long view.” Pushing it and further exacerbating a previously sustained injury will ultimately just keep them on the sidelines longer.
- Bring youth athletes into a Sports Medicine Specialist to treat athletic injuries. The highly-trained Sports Medicine doctor can identify and treat injuries quickly and efficiently. This means better healing, faster recovery, and getting back in the game as quickly and healthfully as possible.