Reports of Sports Related Injuries Are On The Rise As Children Head Back To School. What to Look for If Your Child Is Injured Playing Sports
Now that school is back in session, and the school sports season is in full swing so are the reports of sports related injuries. Children across Ohio and the country engage in sports such as football, soccer, baseball, basketball, lacrosse, cheerleading, golf and many others with most sharing a common set of sports injuries. While our schools and coaches are becoming more aware and are being trained to reduce school sports related injuries, we should still be vigilant in knowing what the most common sports injuries are and what to look we can do to aid in their care and prevention.
School sports injuries are so common, therefore it is easy to overlook them, but parents and caregivers can help protect the health of their children by identifying common sports injuries and how to prevent them. According to data collected by Ohio State University, more children experience school sports related injuries today than in previous years. Concussion rates, for example, have risen from .23 per 1000 activity exposures in 2005 to .51 per 1000 activity exposures in 2012. A 2008 study of over 7 million sports-playing children found that of all the school sports, football has the highest injury rate of 2.54 injuries per 1000 activity exposures. The most common sports injuries in children are listed as follows:
Concussions: Concussions were such a serious problem a few years ago that many states now require high school teachers and gym coaches to undergo specific training to identify the early stages of concussions. Students are not allowed to return to play in many states without the written permission of a doctor or other medical professional. Some states even require that a student stop playing for the season if the student receives two concussions in the same season. Concussions are common in soccer, basketball, and football. Warning signs are loss of consciousness, persistent headache, confusion, or trouble with bright lights.
Bruises and scrapes: Although extremely common school sports injuries, bruises and scrapes are usually not dangerous, just inconvenient to the student and parents. These minor injuries can be treated with antibiotic ointments and can be prevented with safe play and by wearing the proper safety gear for each sport.
ACL tears: Children playing sports often injure their muscles, particularly the ACL around the knee. An ACL tear is typically characterized by pain, a popping sound, and swelling around the knee area. ACL tears are common school sports injuries in all sports, but particularly common in soccer, basketball, volleyball, and football.
[http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2267335/, September 2015] [https://news.osu.edu/news/2014/05/06/study-concussion-rate-in-high-school-athletes-more-than-doubled-in-7-year-period/, September 2015]
Parents and caregivers can help prevent further sports related injuries by advising children to take a break to when necessary to recover from an injury. It may seem like a good idea for a child to jump right back into play, but continuing play during a game or practice but it can further increase risk and make injuries worse. Always instruct children to take time away from sports when necessary and to see a medical professional at the first sign of a serious injury. [
http://woodtv.com/2015/08/20/what-to-watch-out-for-common-sports-injuries/, September 2015]
If an injury is visible or suspected, such as when a student does not have full range of motion or stiffness in a joint, see a medical professional as soon as possible. If possible, look for a doctor familiar with sports injuries as they will have a clearer idea of how to treat sports-related injuries and get the student back on the field faster and in a safe manner.