Back to school means back to sports or first-time sports try-outs for many kids. Football, soccer, cheerleading, gymnastics, baseball, basketball, volleyball, hockey, you name it, kids of all ages are participating in team sports in record numbers. As those numbers increase so do the injuries. Millions of middle school, high school, and college-age boys and girls across the country are injured participating in sports annually.
Team sports are valuable activities that teach children a variety of skills that can apply to all areas of life. However, safety must be the priority in any sport. It must take precedence over intense competitiveness when the health and wellbeing of children are at stake. Accidents do happen. Sometimes those accidents can be fatal.
American football is one of the most popular of all sports. And, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 920,000 football-related injuries among boys under the age of 18 are reported on an annual basis nationwide. Most of those injuries are reported shortly after the school year begins and prior to the end of football season. And, more importantly, most of these injuries are preventable.
Some of the most common football-related injuries as published by the College of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine at the University of Washington are listed below:
Overuse Injuries – Lower back or overall back pain is a common complaint in football players due to overuse. Often a leading cause is overtraining syndrome. This is when a player trains beyond the body’s ability to easily recover.
Concussions – One of the most common injuries in football. A concussion occurs due to a traumatic impact. Some signs of concussion are; headache, dizziness, nausea, drowsiness, loss of balance, numbness, blurry vision, and difficulty concentrating. Concussions can be very serious. Always seek medical care immediately if your child has experienced any kind of impact injury.
Heat Injuries – Most often heat-related injuries occur with the intense physical activities associated with long outdoor training sessions in the height of summer. Sweating depletes the body of salt and water. Cramping is one of the symptoms. If not treated with simple body cooling and fluids, heat stroke or heat exhaustion may follow, which can if untreated lead to death.
Traumatic Injuries – Knee injuries in football are the most common, especially those to the anterior or posterior cruciate ligament (ACL/PCL) and to the menisci (cartilage of the knee). These knee injuries can adversely affect a player’s long-term involvement in the sport. Football players also have a higher chance of ankle sprains due to the surfaces played on and cutting motions. Shoulder injuries are also quite common and the labrum (cartilage bumper surrounding the socket part of the shoulder) is particularly susceptible to injury, especially in offensive and defensive linemen. In addition, injuries to the acromioclavicular joint (ACJ) or shoulder are seen in football players. (http://www.orthop.washington.edu/?q=patient-care/articles/sports/common-sports-injuries-and-sports-injury-prevention-tips.html)
These injuries are not exclusive to football. No matter what sport your children are involved in, be aware of the signs of injuries that could result in long-term disabilities or possibly death if left untreated. Teach your children that sports and competition are fun but their health and safety are always the primary concern. So, have fun and be safe!
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