SPORTS MEDICINE :
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Young Athletes: Injuries And Prevention
Young Athletes: Injuries And Prevention
Published Thursday 9 August 2012
By Catharine Paddock PhD
Medical News Today (MNT)
High profile events like the Olympics bring the hope that witnessing and
celebrating dedicated athletes at the top of their game, will inspire
young people to take up sport and physical activities that help them
develop confidence, lead more satisfying lives, and not least, secure
long-term health by reducing their risk for developing chronic illness
like diabetes, obesity, cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
But unfortunately, if they don't take appropriate measures, young athletes
can instead, end up in pain, on a different path to poor health, due to
avoidable sport injury.
James R. Andrews, a former president of the American Society for Sports
Medicine (AOSSM), said in May this year, the US has experienced a
tremendous rise in the number of young people taking up sport. Estimates
show 3.5 million children aged 14 and under receive medical treatment for
sport-related injuries, while high-school athletes account for another 2
million a year.
"This makes sports the leading cause of adolescent injury. Along with time
away from school and work, these injuries can have far-reaching effects,"
This article looks at some of the common and less common injuries in young
athletes. It then reviews a new project that is tracking injuries in
Olympic athletes, introduces some ideas about avoiding and minimizing
injury, and finishes with a list of tips for preventing sport injury in
Common Sport Injuries
According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and
Skin Diseases, which is part of the National Institutes of Health in the
US, the most common sport injuries are due to accidents, poor training
practices or using the wrong gear or equipment. People can also hurt
themselves because they are not in shape, or because they don't warm up or
Some injury experts in the US have said they are also seeing more and more
young athletes injured because of overuse and doing too much, and this may
partially explain the growing numbers that drop out of sport by the eighth
grade. The most common sports injuries are:
Sprains and strains,
Achilles tendon injuries,
Pain along the shin bone, and
Fractures and dislocations.
Topics Covered in This Article
Back and Neck Injuries
Research on Olympians: the Injury and Illness Performance Project (IIPP)
Prehab to Avoid Rehab
Focus on Body's Imbalances
Tips for Injury Prevention in Young Athletes
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following:
Time off: take at least 1 day off a week to give your body time to
Take breaks: during practice sessions and games to reduce risk of
injury and prevent heat illness.
Use the correct gear: this should be right for the sport and fit
properly, for instance pads for neck, shoulders, elbows, chest, knees, and
shins, as well as helmets, mouthpieces, face guards, protective cups,
and/or eyewear. And don't assume because you are wearing protective gear
you can perform more dangerous and risky things.
Drink plenty of fluids: before, during and after exercise or play to
avoid heat illness; wearing light clothing also helps. Coaches and
trainers should reduce or stop practices or competitions when heat or
humidity is high.
Build muscle strength: do your conditioning exercises before games and
during practice to strengthen the muscles you use during play.
Increase flexibility: by stretching before and after games and
Use the proper technique: coaches and trainers should reinforce this
during the playing season.
Play safe: coaches and leaders should enforce strict rules against
headfirst sliding (eg in baseball), spearing (football), and body checking
(ice hockey), and stop the activity if there is any pain.
They also advise coaches and parents to consider the emotional stress
The complete article may be read at the URL above.
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