Teaching young athletes to report any type of pain they’re having to their coach or parents can help prevent an undiagnosed injury from becoming more severe.
Unfortunately, not all young athletes are aware that it’s easy to develop an overuse injury, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
During this time of year, it’s pretty common for athletes playing football, volleyball and soccer and participating in cheerleading to sustain an injury. In 2013, roughly 882,000 football-related injuries occurred in children 5 to 18 years old, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Nearly 434,000 children had soccer injuries. Cheerleading accounted for close to 100,000 injuries while there were more than 94,000 injuries related to playing volleyball.
“Overuse injuries are the most common type of sports-related injuries,” said AAOS spokesman Dr. Michael S. George, who specializes in sports medicine. “Often times, the initial aches and pains felt during the progression of an injury are overlooked by young athletes.”
Prevent Sports-Related Injuries
To help prevent sports-related injuries, the AAOS recommends the following tips:
- Have a pre-season physical examination and follow your doctor’s recommendations.
- Warm-up and cool down properly with low-impact exercises like walking or cycling.
- Consistently incorporate strength training and stretching. A good stretch involves not going beyond the point of resistance and should be held for 10-12 seconds.
- Hydrate adequately to maintain health and minimize muscle cramps. Waiting until you are thirsty is often too late to hydrate properly.
- Keep an eye out for unsafe play surfaces. Playing grounds should be in good condition.
- Don’t play through the pain. Speak with an orthopaedic sports medicine specialist or athletic trainer if you have any concerns about injuries.
- When participating, wear protective gear such as properly fitted cleats, pads, helmets, mouth guard or other necessary equipment for the selected sport.
- Play multiple positions and/or sports during the off-season to minimize overuse injuries.
- Pay attention to weather conditions such as wet, slippery fields that can lead to injuries.
- Avoid the pressure to overtrain. Listen to your body and decrease training time and intensity, if pain or discomfort develops. This will reduce the risk of injury and help avoid “burn-out.”
Source: AAOS news release
+ Virginia Orthopaedic and Spine Specialists, in conjunction with Bon Secours Hampton Roads, offers a full continuum of orthopaedic sports performance care that includes the most up-to-date equipment for treatment in Hampton Roads. Our state-of-the-art rehabilitation centers feature new innovations in sports medicine.
+ Learn about our amazing team of orthopaedic surgeons.