Little League is one thing that I have participated in, my siblings participated in, my children participated in and my grand children are participating in. The joy to get out there and play with friends is awesome. Sadly I have also often seen many individuals playing youth league sports have to make emergency visits to the E.R. room. Treatments for concussions, cuts, bruises, etc... are all worthy E.R. visits but the game would have been more fun if they were not needed.
An estimated 173,285 sports and recreation related injuries become Emergency Room visits each year. The National Youth Sports Safety Foundation has proclaimed the month of April as National youth Sports Safety Month since 1989. They strive to educated parents, coaches, athletes, and health care professionals on injury prevention in youth athletes The American College of Sports Medicine, The Presidents Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, and the United States Olympic Committee and more than 60 other national medical and sports organizations support Youth Sports Safety Month.
Concussions are one of the top concerns. The program "Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports" is a campaign that focuses on the facts, the symptoms, responding to a concussion and returning to the game after a concussion. The program is aimed at reducing the 3.8 million sports related concussions that occur annually in the U.S. Most concussions and other sports related injuries can be prevented. The University of Michigan Health System believes sport injuries may be caused by
- Individual risk factors (such as medical conditions)
- Inadequate physical exams before participating (every child should get a sports-specific physical exam before each season)
- Lack of pre-season conditioning
- Lack of safety equipment, or poorly fitted, improper equipment
- Lack of proper eye protection
- Teaming up by age instead of size
- Unsafe playing fields or surfaces
- Improper training or coaching, or lack of instruction.
- Not warming up, cooling down and stretching properly
- Playing while injured
- Stress and inappropriate pressure to win.
- Poor nutrition or hydration
As I stated sports has been a major part of our family since I was young. It is true that Sports participation is a major cause of serious injury among youth. They are the second most frequent cause of injury for both male and female players. More than 5 million children will seek treatment in hospital emergency rooms because of sport injuries but most sport injuries are preventable.
Find free resources: The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine publishes specific injury prevention tip sheetsfor 20 different sports and activities.
To help prevent sport injuries here are some tips for all those involved in youth sports
Each player should receive a physical exam by a doctor to help rule out any potential medical conditions that may place any kid at risk
Each player should have a water bottle and take it to practice and games. It is important to stay well hydrated by drinking water before, during and after playing
Stretching before play can make a big difference by releasing muscle tension and helping prevent sports related injuries, such as muscle tears or sprains. Make sure there is time set aside before every practice and game for athletes to warm up property.
Kids should get 10 consecutive weeks of rest from any one sport every year. Playing different sports through the year is ok.
Coaches should be certified in first aid and CPR. They should be able to learn the signs and symptoms of a concussion and help avoid overuse injury by resting players during practices and games.