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Help Your Student Athlete Avoid Concussions and Orthopedic Injuries

A recent report in the Washington Post takes a look at those injuries that are typically incurred by children when engaged in various sports activities.  In addition to simply outlining potential dangers, representatives of the Safe Kids Worldwide organization and several doctors and experts also offer tips on preventing those dangers.

Concussions garner a lot of press in the media, and for good reason.  If a child endures a concussion, he or she could suffer serious damage if the symptoms aren’t tempered immediately.  Those symptoms might not be readily obvious, as concussions don’t always occur with an accompanying loss of consciousness.  In fact, a chief of neuropsychology at Washington D.C.’s Children’s National Medical Center explains that such a symptom only manifests in about one in ten cases.

Other indicators of a concussion shouldn’t be taken any less seriously simply because they’re not as sensational as a loss of consciousness.  If a child has taken a hit in some sort of sporting activity and shortly thereafter exhibits headaches, confusion, dizziness, or cranial pressure, he or she needs to be taken out of the game and seen to by a qualified doctor.  Many times, an emergency room visit will be in order, followed by rest after treatment has been provided.

Parents can do their part to prevent these injuries by speaking with coaches and activity administrators about policies in place to prevent concussions.  They can further stress to their children that their wellbeing is always going to be more important than winning any game.  That way, kids will know to protect themselves and not push past the pain if they feel they’ve been concussed.

The other injuries that parents and coaches should strive to help children avoid are the various orthopedic dangers that can arise while playing sports.  As another Children’s National doctor notes, kids are becoming more susceptible to these types of injuries due to an increased propensity among coaches and parents to have children focus in on one sport.  Unfortunately, doing so might provide too much of one exercise and not enough of another.

This means that a child could be at risk for such things as strains, sprains, fractures, tears, and tendinitis.  Exacerbating the risks of these injuries are improper stretching procedures and not getting ample rest prior to and after any strenuous activity.

Safety can be encouraged in this arena by simply letting kids be kids and not forcing them to work past their limits.  A steady increase in any workload is preferable to a rapid uptick, and stretching will be an important factor with all activities.

If a minor orthopedic injury is incurred, ice and anti-inflammatory drugs might be required.  However, more serious damage could entail physical therapy, a brace, a cast, or even surgery.  It’s up to parents to speak with their doctors to figure out the best course of action.

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