Common School Sports Injuries
Jan 31, 2018
Millions of adolescents and teenagers participate in school athletics each year. There are many benefits to playing sports in school such as developing teamwork skills, strong work ethics, and discipline that help promote success in adulthood. However, sports-related injuries come with the territory, this is often a concern for parents due to the potential of time-loss in school or in their sport of choice.
The bigger concern is that players are often still growing when these injuries occur, so it’s crucial parents are abreast of the common injuries young athletes experience so they can minimize the risk for long-term damage. It’s not just cuts and bruises parents should be wary of – one 2012 study found more than 1.35 million children experienced sports-related injuries serious enough to send them to the emergency room that year alone.1
Sports Injury Classifications
Sports injuries are often classified as either acute or overuse injuries. Both classifications are common throughout all sports. Though different sports may lead to different types of injuries – for example, contact sports like football and hockey are more likely to lead to fractures, while soccer players may experience more shin splints – it’s important to know the distinction between acute and overuse injuries, as it may help prevent them in the future.
When many people think of sports injuries, they often think of sudden injuries caused by hard falls or awkward twists. These types of injuries certainly occur, but injuries from overuse are just as troublesome for young athletes. Any sort of repetitive motion, like overhand pitching or serving in tennis, can result in a gradual overuse injury. These injuries affect the muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones and growth plates.
Some examples of overuse injuries in sports include:
- Lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow)
- Rotator cuff tendinitis (swimmer’s shoulder)
- Shin splints
- Infrapatellar tendinitis (jumper’s knee)
- Achilles tendinitis
- Little league elbow (stress to the elbow growth plate)
- And more
Overuse injuries often result from training mistakes such as improper technique, not giving your body enough time to heal, doing too much too soon or doing too much of one athletic activity over time. Young athletes should try to pace themselves and gradually increase workloads to avoid overuse injuries. It’s also recommended parents try to keep their children from playing one sport year-round.
Overuse injuries are especially common in young athletes because the athlete’s bones and muscles are still growing. In simple terms, the newly developed bone or muscle may not be ready for the workload an athlete is attempting, resulting in injuries to the growth plates, joints and stress fractures in the feet and shins.
Acute injuries are sudden trauma injuries – sprains, bone fractures, strains, and concussions. In the same study mentioned previously, the most common acute injuries that resulted in an emergency room visit were:1
- Strain or sprain (a partial or complete tear in the ligament)
- Contusion (bone bruise)
Acute injuries are more difficult to prevent than overuse injuries, especially in contact sports like football or hockey where hard collisions with opposing players and the playing surface are inevitable. However, it’s always recommended athletes use proper equipment like safety gear and shoes, have good conditioning and use the correct technique when playing sports. Those who are out of shape when they begin playing a sport should gradually work their way to adequate physical conditioning, and those playing contact sports should always adhere to the rules and safety precautions.
Treating Sports Injuries with Passionate Care and Expertise
While there are many steps parents and athletes can take to prevent sports injuries for their kids, some injuries are simply unavoidable in the competitive atmosphere of youth sports. Whether it’s an overuse or acute injury, it’s imperative your young athlete receives fast, proper treatment for their continued growth and future success. Complete Care provides emergency room services throughout Texas and in Colorado Springs to get your young superstar back on the field.