More children are competing in sports than ever before
Sports may help the child with both physical and psychological fitness. A significant sports injury, however, may result in physical and emotional stress for the injured child as well as the parents.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (2017) have even offered tips to reduce the risk of injury:
- Take time off. Plan to have at least 1 day off per week and at least one month off per year from training for a particular sport to allow the body to recover.
- Wear the right gear. Players should wear appropriate and properly fit protective equipment such as pads (neck, shoulder, elbow, chest, knee, and shin), helmets, mouthpieces, face guards, protective cups, and eyewear. Young athletes should not assume that protective gear will prevent all injuries while performing more dangerous or risky activities.
- Strengthen muscles. Conditioning exercises during practice strengthens muscles used in play.
- Increase flexibility. Stretching exercises after games or practice can increase flexibility. Stretching should also be incorporated into a daily fitness plan.
- Use the proper technique. This should be reinforced during the playing season.
- Take breaks. Rest periods during practice and games can reduce injuries and prevent heat illness.
- Play safe. Strict rules against headfirst sliding (baseball and softball), spearing (football), and checking (in hockey) should be enforced.
- Do not play through pain.
- Avoid heat illness by drinking plenty of fluids before, during and after exercise or play; decrease or stop practices or competitions during high heat/humidity periods; wear light clothing.
If children are jumping on a trampoline, they should be supervised by a responsible adult, and only one child should be on the trampoline at a time; 75% of trampoline injuries occur when more than one person is jumping at a time.
- If a significant sports injury cannot be avoided, steps should be taken for timely and successful recovery both for the child’s physical and emotional well-being.
Peak development of the vital organs may occur between the ages of 25-30 years
For that reason minimal use of medications is recommended in patients 25 years and younger. Medications like Ibuprofen and Tylenol may have harmful effects on the under-developed Kidneys and Liver, respectively. Opioid medication can increase the risk of dependence and abuse in the same population.
The most frequent types of sports injuries are sprains (injuries to ligaments) strains (injuries to muscles), and stress fractures (injuries to bones). Injury occurs when excessive stress is placed on tendons, joints, bones and muscle. In a growing child, point tenderness over a bone should be evaluated further by a medical provider even if there is minimal swelling or limitation in motion.
Treatment should be focused on the body’s natural ability to heal and preservation of the child’s growth plate. If the growth plate is disrupted following an injury, surgery may be required.
If surgery is not required, treatment in the form of injections combined with extensive rehabilitation will provide the safest, most efficient healing for the injured pediatric patient. Harmful medications may be avoided and early intervention will prevent permanent damage. Injections to treat sports injuries are non-invasive and performed in a comfortable, safe environment with or without anesthesia overcoming the pain of a sports injury over time!
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About the Author
Dr. Woodley Mardy-Davis is fellow-ship trained and triple board certified through The American Board of Anesthesiology and The American Board of Addiction Medicine. Board Certifications include Interventional Spine/Pain Medicine, Anesthesiology and Addiction Medicine. Dr. Davis specializes in nonsurgical and minimally invasive surgical treatments of the spine, and musculoskeletal system.
Dr. Davis’ skills are honed in the fluoroscopically and ultrasound guided procedures to intervene in the disorders of the spine and musculoskeletal system. Dr. Davis advocates a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to acute, chronic spine and pain disorders through the use of innovative diagnostic tools, treatment interventions and successful rehabilitation.