Did you know that sports injuries impact millions of children every year? According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), nearly 3.2 million children every year go to the emergency room due to sports and recreation-related injuries. In addition, sports injuries are the leading cause of hospitalizations for children between 12 and 17 years old.
Even though the above statistics seem alarming, they should not dissuade you from enrolling your child into school sports and related activities.
School sports can be a great way for children to socialize, build athletic skills, and maintain a healthy, physical lifestyle. However, if you enroll your child into a school sport, just be ready to help them prevent sports injuries and treat any injury as it happens.
So how can you effectively manage, and mitigate, your child’s sports injuries?
Prevention is key for reducing sports injuries
The good news for parents and student athletes is that sports injuries are highly preventable with just a few simple techniques:
- Before any physical activity or sports season, parents should get their child a physical. Most school districts require children to receive physicals in order to evaluate if they are healthy enough for competition.
- Have your child participate in sports with an experienced coach that understands the rules, skills, and defensive techniques to safely play a sport.
- Set realistic goals for fitness, exercise, and performance to avoid over-exertion when participating in physical activity.
- Have your child stretch and warm-up before participating in any games. Also check to ensure the field/court/etc. is safe for playing.
Other factors to consider when preventing sports injuries includes checking if athletic equipment fits your child, having a first aid kit on your person, and encouraging your child not to “play through pain.” If your child experiences pain on the field they may exacerbate a potential injury with continuous play.
Treat sports injuries as soon as they happen
In the event that your child experiences a sports injury, make sure you get them to the nearest medical facility ASAP.
Before seeking treatment at a walk-in clinic, a trainer or qualified medical assistant should administer first-aid on the injured limb to stabilize the injury and keep it from getting worse.
Once appropriate first-aid is administered, make sure you take your child to the appropriate medical facility. As a rule of thumb take your child to the emergency room for only the most severe and potentially life-threatening injuries. For other minor injuries, try taking your child to a walk-in clinic or an urgent care center.
Urgent care centers offer a great resource for patients to get immediate treatment for various injuries including bone breaks, fractures, sprains, and similar sports injuries.
Additionally, urgent care centers provide walk-in clinic access so a patient never needs an appointment for medical care. In just a few minutes a doctor and similar urgent care staff will coordinate treatment for your child.
With some simple prevention skills, and knowing where to treat injuries, your child can have a relatively uninterrupted season during school sports!