With so many sedentary activities like TV, video games, and social media available to kids today, it’s more important than ever to get them involved in outdoor or athletic activities. Participating in sports also builds essential skills such as teamwork and perseverance, but it’s not without risk. Out of the roughly 38 million children and adolescents who play organized sports in the US each year, over 2.6 million are treated in the ER for sports and recreation-related injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Thankfully, a lot can be prevented through proper equipment and preparation, but accidents—and injuries – are bound to happen. Take a look below at the most common youth sports injuries and how to treat them.
Sprains and Strains
Some people might think a sprain or strain is much “better” than breaking a bone, but these injuries are still quite serious. A sprain is an injury to a ligament, which connects bones at the joints. Ankle sprains and ACL/PCL tears are the most common. A strain is an injury to the muscle or tendon, which connects muscle to bone. That’s why these injuries are commonly called “pulled muscles.”
To treat sprains and strains, use the RICE method (rest, ice, compression, elevation). A trip to the ER might not be necessary, but a doctor should be consulted if the injury has prolonged swelling or severe pain.
The sun is millions of miles away but it can still do plenty of damage beyond sunburn. Sun, heat, and strenuous activity are a dangerous combination that can lead to:
Dehydration: extreme thirst, very dry mouth and mucous membranes, little to no urination, sunken eyes
Heat exhaustion: nausea, dizziness, weakness, headache, muscle pain, pale and moist skin, heavy perspiration, normal or low body temperature, weak pulse,
Heat stroke: temperature of 104 or higher, headache, dizziness, confusion, and hot dry skin, vomiting, lack of sweating, shortness of breath, unconsciousness
Because heat injuries can be fatal, they should always be taken seriously. To treat mild to moderate heat injury such as dehydration and heat exhaustion, move the child to a cool, shaded area, remove tight clothing, and apply fluids and active cooling measures, such as a fan or ice towels. Heat stroke, on the other hand, is too severe to treat on your own—call 911 immediately and try to lower the child’s core body temperature quickly (ice baths work well, along with ice packs applied to the armpits, groin, and neck areas) until paramedics arrive.
Growth Plate Injuries
Broken bones are always serious, but certain breaks are especially damaging to kids. The growth plate is the area of developing tissue at the end of so-called long bones (hand and fingers, forearm, upper and lower legs, feet and toes); the area turns into solid bone once growth is complete. Breaks on or near this area of the bone can affect a child’s growth, so it’s important to get a referral to an orthopedic surgeon if your child suffers this type of break.
Treatment for growth plate injuries will involve a cast at the very least, and in some cases surgery might be required if the injury is severe. If the break involves growth plates on the leg, your child might need a wheelchair or knee rollator until the healing process is complete.
Repetitive Motion Injuries
Some injuries are hard to diagnose, such as tendinitis (inflammation of a tendon) and stress fractures, which are hairline bone fractures caused by repeated stress. These injuries are often undetectable on X-rays, but they still cause enough pain and discomfort to necessitate treatment.
Many repetitive motion injuries can be treated effectively with the RICE method, and in some cases, wheelchair or rollator use or cast immobilization can be used, along with physical therapy to regain strength and mobility.
Need to a wheelchair or scooter while your injured athlete recovers?
If your child has suffered a sports-related injury that has temporary restricted mobility, they might benefit from the use of a wheelchair, rollator, or knee rollator. At PA Healthcare, we have a wide range of mobility assistance equipment for rent or purchase, and we offer delivery to anywhere in San Diego and Imperial Counties.