When Sports Start Up, So Do InjuriesIn today’s world of technology, parents are often very excited when a child shows an interest in sports. Children nowadays are spending more time indoors watching TV, playing video games, and browsing the Internet than participating in physical activities. This has created an entire generation with a strong tendency to childhood obesity.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of adolescents in the United States affected by obesity has tripled since the 1970s. This study found one in five school-aged children were obese.
As a result of these sobering facts, parents have eagerly supported their children’s desire to play sports such as youth football, soccer, and hockey. But recent studies have determined these contact sports can be the cause of a great many child injuries.
Football-Related Injuries Seen in Child Athletes
The Journal of Athletic Training reported that in a single year, 28% of the 5.5 million youth football players in the United States sustained some type of injury while participating in the sport. Over 180,000 of those children required emergency medical care. The most common injuries to youth football players are bruises and ligament and muscle strains to the wrist, ankle, foot, and knee. Concussions and other head and spine injuries are not as common, occurring at a rate of one injury per 2,000 children, but the consequences can have a lifelong impact on the child and family.
Soccer-Related Injuries Seen in Child Athletes
Soccer has become one of the most popular recreation, club, and school sports in the United States. The most common injuries among youth soccer player include cuts and bruises, heat-related illness, ankle and knee sprains, and concussions. The continuous running involved in soccer could increase the potential for overuse injuries, and continued stress on a child’s growing body has been found to be the culprit of many leg injuries.
Hockey-Related Injuries Seen in Child Athletes
Hockey is filled with contact with other players as well as the ice and the boards. Add in the fact that older players can reach speeds of 30 mph on the ice and achieve a speed of almost 100 mph when passing or shooting the puck, and you have a recipe for injuries. For the over 500,000 youth hockey players in the United States, commonly reported injuries include bone, ligament, and joint injuries; cuts; and concussions. The most common areas of the body to sustain injury are the ankles, knees, and shoulders, closely followed by the head and neck.
What Parents Need to Know
Injuries are a part of youth sports, but the number and severity of these injuries can be reduced with a little effort from parents, athletes, and coaches. The first step in eliminating youth injuries is to outfit children with protective gear that fits properly and is in good condition. Children can grow rapidly and might require new equipment each season or year. A list of minimum protective equipment for each sport will illustrate what parents need to be prepared to purchase:
Hockey players should be equipped with:
- Helmet with face mask and mouth guard
- Shoulder pads
- Elbow pads
- Shin pads
- Padded hockey pants
Soccer players should be equipped with:
- Shin pads
- Long socks
Football players should be equipped with:
- Youth football helmet with face mask and chin strap
- Shoulder pads
- Rib guard
- Football girdle and pants
- Elbow pads
- Knee pads
This gear will help keep children as protected as possible as they learn to play these sports.
What Child Athletes Need to Know
There are two important facts children need to understand when they begin to play organized sports. First, training is as important to children as it is to pro athletes. Conditioning and muscle strength will help a child avoid serious injuries. Attending practice and maintaining a healthy lifestyle when not in season will keep a child’s body fit and ready for game day.
Second, each sport has rules designed to keep the players safe. Breaking these rules can cause injuries to other players as well as to yourself. Parents and coaches need to also impress upon children that if they do not follow the rules and demonstrate good sportsmanship, they will not be allowed to play.
The Responsibility of Coaches
Youth coaches have a huge responsibility to their players and to the players’ parents. It is the job of each coach to teach the skills of the sport, the rules, and how to listen to your body. Coaches also need to be aware of each player’s capabilities and fitness level and not push a child beyond his or her limits.
If you believe your child’s sports-related injury was a result of someone else’s negligence, please contact Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., at (888) 228-3860. Our Seattle personal injury lawyers have the experience to seek fair compensation for your child’s injuries. When you need to focus on caring for your child, let us focus on seeking justice.
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