Injury prevention is one of today’s hot topics in the sports medicine community. In the adolescent population, 50 percent of injuries are from overuse, meaning doing too much activity. Furthermore, 60 percent of those injuries are preventable.
How can you determine if your child is at risk? Answer yes or no for the following questions:
- Does my child play only one sport? Yes No
- Does my child participate in sports throughout the entire year? Yes No
- Has my child had an injury already? Yes No
- Does my child continue to play even when she or he is fatigued/tired? Yes No
According to the most recent literature, if you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, your child may be at increased risk for injury.
How can you prevent injury from occurring?
- Allow your child to participate in a variety of sports throughout the year. This allows their bodies to create multiple different movement patterns instead of continuing to use only one, as well as decreasing risk for overuse injury and burn out. For example, if your son’s favorite sport is baseball, try swimming or soccer in the off-season.
- Allow your child to have some time off throughout the year. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends at least one day per week and at least one month off per year.
- If your child complains of pain lasting longer than two weeks, it is recommended they see a sports medicine physician and they may also benefit from a course of physical therapy with a sports PT. Previous injury and limb asymmetries, meaning one side of the body is significantly stronger or moves a lot more or less, are two primary risk factors for injury.
- When participating in weekend tournaments or extra innings, rest breaks are extremely important. In youth baseball players, almost 50 percent of injuries occur when pitchers threw back-to-back days.
Not all athletic injuries are preventable; however, if we take the proper precautions, we can decrease our young athletes’ risk of injury. By keeping sports participation fun and playing a variety of sports pain-free, we can do our best to keep our athletes on the field and injury free!
1. 2017 AAP Sports Injury Prevention Worksheet: https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/news-features-and-safety-tips/pages/sports-injury-prevention-tip-sheet.aspx
2. Feeley, B., Agel, J. and LaPrade, R. (2015). When Is It Too Early for Single Sport Specialization?. The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 44(1), pp.234-241.
3. Yang, J., Mann, B., Guettler, J., Dugas, J., Irrgang, J., Fleisig, G. and Albright, J. (2014). Risk-Prone Pitching Activities and Injuries in Youth Baseball. The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 42(6), pp.1456-1463.