Gentle Dental of St. Clair Shores
26210 Harper Avenue, Suite 100, St. Clair Shores, MI 48081

Child Health & Safety: Common Sports Injuries

Sports and active outdoor play are popular activities for kids of all ages. Whether children participate in organized sports or they enjoy engaging in casual recreational activities, injuries are a risk. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that about 3.2 million emergency room visits occur every year for kids between the ages of 5 and 14 as a result of injuries from recreational activities. For those participating in any type of sporting activities, about 775,000 emergency room visits occur each year for kids in the same age range. Contact sports have a high risk of injury for players due to collisions between players. Although it’s impossible to prevent all injuries, there are ways to reduce risks to ensure health, safety, and enjoyable play.

Sports-Related Injuries

Because children are still growing, they are at a higher risk for injuries. With an increase in sports participation, sports-related injuries are becoming more prevalent. Statistics from 2013 indicate that more than 1.24 million youth under the age of 19 visited emergency rooms due to sports-related injuries. Although less common, fatalities can also occur from both organized sports and playground accidents.

Common Injuries

A number of injuries are common for children participating in sports. Sprains and muscle strains, repetitive motion injuries, and growth-plate injuries are typical issues. Concussions are another common injury for athletes. Both boys and girls in the 9-and-under age group have a high rate of concussions from bicycling or playing on playgrounds. Boys between the ages of 10 and 19 get concussions from bicycling and playing football, while girls in this age group get concussions from bicycling and playing basketball and soccer. Heat illness is another common issue, especially because kids have a reduced sweating capacity when compared to adults.

Prevention

Parents can take steps to prevent some sports-related injuries to help keep kids safe. One of the most important strategies for reducing injuries is to analyze a sports organization carefully before enrolling a child to participate. An organization must show a strong commitment to player safety and injury prevention. All staff members working directly with children must have thorough first-aid and CPR training. Review the organization’s emergency response plan to ensure that it covers typical scenarios that could happen during play. The staff members of an organization must also have the expertise necessary to recognize injuries. The program must utilize all safety gear available to prevent injuries, and the coaches should include proper warm-up and cool-down periods with child athletes. When kids exert themselves in warm weather, staff must encourage proper hydration and the use of sunscreen to prevent burns.

Additional Resources

Everyone needs physical activity for optimal health, including children. Organized sports and recreational activities can teach a variety of important lessons, including team spirit, cooperation, patience, and perseverance. Kids who regularly engage in physical activity often develop excellent balance, reflexes, and coordination. If a sports injury occurs, this will likely sideline a child during recovery. During healing, parents will need to work closely with physicians to ensure that the child recovers completely before resuming activities again.

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