The middle of the school year is upon us, and sports season is well under way. Many kids are spending hours each day involved in hard, physical activity--they are learning the games and how to be better at them. Unfortunately, many kids don’t properly consider the dangers that can occur on the playing field, and therefore do not properly protect themselves during play.
Now, full disclaimer here: I am not saying that sports are inherently bad or necessarily a bad thing. I recognize the cultural, personal, and emotional significance that many people attach to their sports persona. However, it nonetheless is vital that people understand what they are getting into and what they can do to help manage their own health. Knowledge is power, especially where the body is concerned. Here, we are going to go over some of the most common sports injuries that youth find themselves dealing with while participating in sports.
● Sprains and Strains -- These are the mildest and most common of the major injuries that people receive during games. Most of the time they are not serious, but any area with a noticeable and continuous ache requires some form of medical attention.
● Stretched Out -- Overuse is a risk run by every athlete, and it seem to be very common in children as well. Oftentimes they are simply pushing themselves too hard in order to keep from letting themselves down, a parent down, or “the school” down. Children should be encouraged (even required) to take appropriate rest periods between strenuous activity, but it is not a perfect world.
● Broken Bones -- A serious problem on the court or on the field, one of the most important things to remember when a bone breaks is to stay calm. It will hurt, and it will hurt quite a lot. Nonetheless, children should be trained in how to remain calm as best as possible in emergency situations.
● Head Injuries -- These are the big ones, because the truth is we don’t 100% understand anything about how they affect us long term. Repeated concussions have been shown to lead to brain damage in later years, as well as lead to mood changes, depression, even aggression. The neurodegenerative disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy has been linked to repeated banging of the head from full contact sports (football, hockey, boxing, etc.)
● The Unknown -- As was stated above, we are really still learning a lot about what sorts of long-term effects are caused by sporting activities. Every year we learn a little more about what is happening, and what we can do to treat it.
The important thing here is to help your child take control of their own medical care, even if in some small way. If they are going to choose to participate in contact sports, they deserve to know the risks as well as the rewards.
The Children’s Clinic is a professional association of pediatricians that have been providing the people of Tennessee with quality care for decades. Our highly qualified staff offers compassionate, personalized care from birth through the teenage years. Our office is located at 264 Coatsland Drive in Jackson, TN. You can reach us by calling 731-423-1500 or via our website, www.thechildrensclinicpa.com.