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Young Athletes: Injuries And Prevention
Young Athletes: Injuries And Prevention
Published Thursday 9 August 2012
By Catharine Paddock PhD
Medical News Today (MNT)
High profile events like the Olympics bring the hope that witnessing and celebrating dedicated athletes at the top of their game, will inspire young people to take up sport and physical activities that help them develop confidence, lead more satisfying lives, and not least, secure long-term health by reducing their risk for developing chronic illness like diabetes, obesity, cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
But unfortunately, if they don’t take appropriate measures, young athletes can instead, end up in pain, on a different path to poor health, due to avoidable sport injury.
James R. Andrews, a former president of the American Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM), said in May this year, the US has experienced a tremendous rise in the number of young people taking up sport. Estimates show 3.5 million children aged 14 and under receive medical treatment for sport-related injuries, while high-school athletes account for another 2 million a year.
“This makes sports the leading cause of adolescent injury. Along with time away from school and work, these injuries can have far-reaching effects,” said Andrews.
This article looks at some of the common and less common injuries in young athletes. It then reviews a new project that is tracking injuries in Olympic athletes, introduces some ideas about avoiding and minimizing injury, and finishes with a list of tips for preventing sport injury in children.
Common Sport Injuries
According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, which is part of the National Institutes of Health in the US, the most common sport injuries are due to accidents, poor training practices or using the wrong gear or equipment. People can also hurt themselves because they are not in shape, or because they don’t warm up or stretch enough.
Some injury experts in the US have said they are also seeing more and more young athletes injured because of overuse and doing too much, and this may partially explain the growing numbers that drop out of sport by the eighth grade. The most common sports injuries are:
Sprains and strains,
Achilles tendon injuries,
Pain along the shin bone, and
Fractures and dislocations.
Topics Covered in This Article
Back and Neck Injuries
Research on Olympians: the Injury and Illness Performance Project (IIPP)
Prehab to Avoid Rehab
Focus on Body’s Imbalances
Tips for Injury Prevention in Young Athletes
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following:
Time off: take at least 1 day off a week to give your body time to recover.
Take breaks: during practice sessions and games to reduce risk of injury and prevent heat illness.
Use the correct gear: this should be right for the sport and fit properly, for instance pads for neck, shoulders, elbows, chest, knees, and shins, as well as helmets, mouthpieces, face guards, protective cups, and/or eyewear. And don’t assume because you are wearing protective gear you can perform more dangerous and risky things.
Drink plenty of fluids: before, during and after exercise or play to avoid heat illness; wearing light clothing also helps. Coaches and trainers should reduce or stop practices or competitions when heat or humidity is high.
Build muscle strength: do your conditioning exercises before games and during practice to strengthen the muscles you use during play.
Increase flexibility: by stretching before and after games and practice.
Use the proper technique: coaches and trainers should reinforce this during the playing season.
Play safe: coaches and leaders should enforce strict rules against headfirst sliding (eg in baseball), spearing (football), and body checking (ice hockey), and stop the activity if there is any pain.
They also advise coaches and parents to consider the emotional stress
The complete article may be read at the URL above.
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