Ways to Avoid Sports Injuries in Children?

Organized sport is the new in-thing. More and more parents are now willing to enroll their children into some form of competitive sport. However there are concerns being raised especially for those children who take part in competitive events and have to undergo intense training at a relatively young age. The main concern for parents of these children is the risk of injuries either during training or when actually participating in the event. While some of the injuries are not too concerning and heal on their own there are some injuries which can not only put their sporting careers at stake but also may make them disabled[1].

The chances of a child having serious complications due to intense training for sporting events are rare, although there is always a chance of overuse injury to specific muscles of the body which may prove to be quite problematic later on in life[1].

It has been observed that since the onset of the century the average age of children taking part in competitive sports have been decreasing, especially in sports like tennis, gymnastics, and swimming. All of these events require significant physical endurance and fitness levels resulting in intense training methodology used by the coaching staff[1].

The aim behind this is to achieve international success in sports it is always best to catch athletes well before they reach puberty as this when their body responds the best to intense training mechanism. This article highlights some of the ways to prevent sports injuries in children[1].

Ways to Avoid Sports Injuries in Children?

Some of the ways through which sports injuries can be avoided in children are:

Protective Gear. Depending upon the sports that a child plays it is always preferable to wear protective gear. This prevents the child from getting hurt either by falling or being hit by an object like a ball. Helmets are the most important protective gear used by players[2].

This is extremely useful when playing games like baseball, softball, skateboarding, cycling, or ice hockey. This will prevent the child from getting any head injury when they fall or are tackled by another player. It is important to choose the right helmet for the respective sport[2].

For example, it will be inappropriate to wear a cycling helmet when playing ice hockey as they are both different games and their helmets are also different. The helmet should be of appropriate fit so that it does not fall off when running or cycling[2].

Some of the other protective gears used for other sports are eyewear for swimming to protect the eyes. Elbow and knee guard are used to prevent any knee or elbow injury while playing. Mouth and face guard is extremely important to prevent any facial or dental injury while playing a game like boxing[2].

Additionally, shoes are also equally important especially when playing games like ice hockey or football. The shoes should have proper studs or spikes so that it grips the surface and prevents the child from falling[2].

Proper Warm-up: It is ill advised to come straight to the ground and start playing. This is because at the beginning the body is stiff and the muscles and tendons require some time to loosen up. Thus it is always necessary to jog for a couple of rounds around the ground so loosen up and then start playing[2].

Play According to Rules: It is important to play according to the rule of the game. This is especially important to prevent any injuries on the field. This holds true for all forms of contact sports. Committing fouls while playing not only risks an injury to the other player but also risks the individual committing the foul[2].

Stay Alert. To prevent any injuries during sports, it is essential to stay alert and to always be on the lookout for any form of tackle or collision from the opponent player. Similarly, while playing sport like baseball care should be taken to drop the bat and run for the base rather than flinging the bat and running as it may hit someone on the filed resulting in an injury. Communication is very important when trying to avoid a collision injury when playing contact sports. This is to alert the other player to change direction to avoid collision[2].

Never Play When Injured. This is extremely important for children to prevent any aggravation of a preexisting injury. If a child has niggles or a strain it is better to take rest and allow the injury to heal rather than jump straight into practice or play a game. This is because there is always a chance of the injury to get aggravated and put the child out of action for much longer time than anticipated[2].

The moment the child thinks that he or she is injured they should contact the team doctor to get it evaluated and stick to the advice given by the physician rather than hiding the injury and continue playing[2].

In conclusion, catching them young is the term doing the rounds in the sporting world. Countries are looking out for athletes at a very young age and are putting them under intense training to make them competent enough to participate in international events. This makes them vulnerable for various injuries at a very young age. These injuries may not have immediate ramifications but over time may become troublesome[2].

Thus it is important to prevent such injuries. By following the above measures, many injuries can be prevented. Thus it is recommended to follow the instructions of the coach and doctor and play by the book so as to prevent any high risk injuries which may prove to be troublesome later in life[2].

Reference:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1717274/pdf/v077p00161.pdf
  2. https://kidshealth.org/en/kids/sport-safety.html

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