How to Tell if Your Child Has an Overuse Sports Injury
According to St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, an overuse injury is nothing to take lightly. Overuse injuries are becoming more common because children are specializing in sports at an early age, are playing a sport year-round, and may even be playing on multiple teams.
Elevating and icing a pain for about 10-15 minutes will reduce pain and swelling, but sometimes an injury could require time off and physical therapy to ensure young athletes can play in the game today as well as in the future.
How to Identify an Overuse Injury and How to Respond
If a child comes off the field or court complaining about pain, discomfort, or swelling, it is best to be cautious. The child should rest, ice, and elevate the area of discomfort.
You, as a parent, should take note of swelling, redness, tenderness, or if the child has trouble putting weight on the area. If the pain still exists after 15 minutes under the ice or if the pain happens again next time they play, you may want to see a doctor.
Shoulders, neck, and head pain calls for a different protocol. If your child has pains in these areas or complains about memory loss, headaches, dizziness, nausea, or eyesight trouble make sure that they stop playing immediately. You should then schedule an appointment with your pediatrician for as soon as possible.
Should You Contact a Doctor?
It is better to be cautious in situations like this and contact a physician to schedule an appointment if the child is complaining about pain, discomfort, or swelling.
Seeing your physician will help you follow the appropriate steps for treatment, which could lead to physical therapy sessions. Physical therapy sessions will help heal the injury and educate you and your child on how to prevent injuries like this from happening again.
Head, neck, and shoulder injuries should be seen by the doctor as quickly as possible.
How to Prevent This from Occurring again in The Future
Every injury is different and requires different treatments. When pain occurs, you should take it easy on the area so tissues and muscles will have time to repair and strengthen. Stretching routinely, hydration, and a well-balanced diet will help children stay active.
Hydration before, during, and after playing outside or a sport, is very essential. Apples, bananas, and peanut butter can help preserve energy for children who are playing outside for long periods of time or participating in a weekend sports tournament.
Sports Injury Statistics
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, more than 3.5 million children ages 14 and younger get hurt annually playing sports or participating in recreational activities.
Although death from a sports injury is rare, the leading cause of death from a sports-related injury is a brain injury.
Sports and recreational activities contribute to approximately 21 percent of all traumatic brain injuries among American children.
Playground, sports, and bicycle-related injuries occur most often among children between ages 5 and 14 years old.
More than 775,000 children, ages 14 and younger, are treated in hospital emergency rooms for sports-related injuries each year. Most of the injuries occurred as a result of falls, being struck by an object, collisions, and overexertion during unorganized or informal sports activities.