I suggest all of you with kids who participate in sports read this excellent blog by Jimmy Andrews, MD. He is one of the fathers of modern sports medicine, and has taken care of innumerable athletes at every level throughout his career.
This excerpt summarizes his blog: “Some people may consider young athletes not to be very vulnerable to injury, however, that is certainly not true. Youth are particularly at-risk for injury because of improper technique, ill-fitting equipment, training errors, coach/parental pressure, failure of early injury recognition, a shift to single-sport specialization, and inherent musculoskeletal imbalance. In reality, these problems are magnified because the younger the athlete is, the more vulnerable he or she may be for injury.”
We should also monitor our kids’ equipment. My daughter grew five inches over the past 12 months, and certainly many shoe sizes. Her shoes and other equipment need to fit her properly. Kids’ sports equipment needs to be checked often.
We should also make sure that our kids are actually in good shape for their sports. Many sports programs now incorporate a strength and conditioning program, or have a strength and conditioning coach. If we don’t have that available, we should get them to the gym or do a home program of exercise to stay in optimal shape for their chosen sports.
We should get our kids to participate in several sports during the year; they don’t all need to be at the highest level. Finally, take all complaints seriously. If a joint is swollen, then a child needs an MRI in almost all cases. The saddest days I have at work are when I see an adolescent on whom I may not be able to save their meniscus or cartilage injury because they have waited for six weeks to “see if it would just get better.”
BLOG: Time is right to make a major impact on the prevention of youth sports injuries | Orthopedics Blogs | James R. Andrews, MD
Orthopedics Blogs | James R. Andrews, MD | My first Healio.com/Orthopedics blog is to introduce and describe the STOP Sports Injuries program. Under the direction and leadership of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, the STOP Sports Injuries program was developed during the past 4 to 5 years as a comprehensive public outreach program. The program focuses on the importance of sports safety, specifically as it relates to