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Student Athletes Face A Three-Pronged Injury Threat

Today’s youth athlete is typically confronted by three types of injury risks:  overuse injuries, acute injuries, and the trauma created by a concussion.  Minimizing risks posed by each of these types of injuries is essential now that the start of the fall sports season is here.  A new report takes a look at all three types of injuries and analyzes some of the ways that parents and coaches can help students avoid harm.

Overuse injuries are becoming far more likely among student athletes, a trend that’s proving alarming to multiple orthopedists around the country.  Although it’s not all that unexpected to see such types of injuries in older athletes and adults of various ages, until relatively recently, the risk was quite low in children.

That has changed now that specialization has become the norm for many athletes.  In a bid to beat the competition, secure a college scholarship or make it to the professional level, students are being pushed earlier and earlier to compete in one sport.  The proliferation of year-round sports leagues and camps allows for such participation.

This is different from a child getting a healthy, balanced exercise regimen that playing different types of sports would afford.  It’s a particular problem in warm-weather areas where fields are available throughout the year.

Injuries can be avoided by encouraging kids to take part in a variety of activities.  And student should be told that it’s acceptable and even advisable to inform coaches and parents when pain accumulates.  That way, a slow-to-develop overuse injury can be avoided with ample rest and rehabilitation as early as possible.

Although overuse injuries make up about half of all injuries incurred by student athletes, acute injuries can rear their heads as well.  Tears of the ACL and injuries to the knee are common among those players who are required to jump or plant their feet on a regular basis.  Cheerleaders, on the other hand, are more susceptible to back injuries due to the many contortions they have to put their bodies through during a routine, while tennis and baseball participants tend to hurt their arms.  Learning the proper mechanics and resting when pain starts to set in are essential to prevention.

Concussions are the final piece of the puzzle, and gear and the teaching of the proper techniques are essential to promoting good health.  Avoiding concussions needs to be an important step in coaching contact sports.

When concussions happen, student athletes need to know that they should speak up rather than push through.  If an athlete is having trouble maintaining balance or seeing straight, or they simply feel a lot of pain, they need to ask to be pulled out.  Coaches and trainers should be trained to spot telltale signs and react accordingly when a potential concussion has taken place.


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