Summer is coming to an end and school is back in session! While it is time to get back to reading, math and other academic activities, many kids also look forward to going back to school for school sports! As children return to school with renewed energy and enthusiasm, they now have to change their ‘game play’ into a more disciplined one. Along with getting acclimated to more rules, they should also understand ways to reduce injuries to their growing bodies.
Be it outdoor sports such as track, baseball or football, or indoor games such as gymnastics or basketball, sports-related injuries are common. Some sports and their related injuries may include:
- Football: Football is a dangerous sport due to its high-contact nature. Common injuries could include knee ligament injuries, ankle sprains, concussions, as well as neck, shoulder and spine injuries.
- Soccer: As they sprint down the field trying the control the ball with only their feet, players run the risk of ligament tears and hamstring strains, among others.
- Field hockey: Getting hit by the hockey stick and ball can result in fractures, ligament injuries and sprains.
- Gymnastics: Some common injuries with regard to gymnastics include strains, sprains, fractures and dislocations.
As parents, we want to do everything we can to protect our children. And school sports are no exception. Here are a few things that you as a parent can do to ensure that your child minimizes injury:
School facilities: If you haven’t already, check the medical and first aid facilities available at your child’s school.
- Knowing that a proper medical emergency plan is in place is a certain reassure that your child will be well looked after well in case of an emergency.
- Ensure that all the sports equipment as well as the sports area is well maintained. This should include the locker room, gym and shower area as well.
- The coaches and support staff should be properly qualified as well as they should be trained in providing first aid.
Preparing your child: Test the physical and mental ability of your child with a pre-participation exam that would determine if your child has the necessary skills required for a particular sport.
- You can always devise a progressive training program to build up the necessary coordination, strength and stamina if necessary.
- Pushing children beyond their limits can lead to injury and an aversion towards the sport.
- If your child has a medical condition, getting clearance from your doctor would be a good idea.
- Educate your child on the importance of staying well hydrated before, during, and after participation in sports as well as the importance of wearing proper safety equipment such as helmets and pads.
- Encourage your child to stop playing and speak up if feeling tired or dizzy rather than trying to continue to play, as that could lead to a serious injury.
- Ensure that your child is taking adequate time for rest and recovery to allow the body to heal and grow.
- Warm up and cool down exercises are key to injury prevention. This should be emphasized by the coach before any sports activity.
Although scrapes and scratches are common to any sport activity, taking precautions and educating our children can help minimize serious injuries. Let’s keep them playing and enjoying school sports!
Dr. Domb is a nationally recognized orthopaedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine and arthroscopic surgery of the hip, shoulder and knee. A noted pioneer in advanced new techniques in hip arthroscopy, he delivers innovative treatments for patients with hip injuries such as impingement and labral tears. Dr. Domb is also an expert in arthroscopic surgery of the shoulder and knee, adept in specialized techniques including arthroscopic rotator cuff repair and all-inside ACL reconstruction.