Childhood Sports Injuries and Their Prevention (cont.)

Soccer

This sport has dramatically increased in popularity in the past two decades in the U.S.

  • Common injuries: Bruises, cuts and scrapes, headaches, sunburn.
  • Safest playing with: Shin guards, athletic supporters for males, cleats, sunscreen, water.
  • Prevention: Aerobic conditioning and warmups, and proper training in "heading" the ball. ("Heading" is using the head to strike or make a play with the ball.)

Baseball and Softball

Sometimes called "America's favorite pastime".

  • Common injuries: Soft tissue strains, impact injuries that include fractures due to sliding and being hit by a ball, sunburn.
  • Safest playing with: Batting helmet, shin guards, elbow guards, athletic supporters for males, mouth guard, sunscreen, cleats, hat, breakaway bases.
  • Prevention: Proper conditioning and warmups.

Gymnastics

The performance of systematic exercises.

  • Common injuries: Sprains and strains of soft tissues.
  • Safest playing with: Athletic supporters for males, safety harness, joint supports (such as neoprene wraps), water.
  • Prevention: Proper conditioning and warmups.

Track and Field

Competing at running, walking, jumping, throwing, or pushing events.

  • Common injuries: Strains, sprains, scrapes from falls.
  • Safest playing with: Proper shoes, athletic supporters for males, sunscreen, water.
  • Prevention: Proper conditioning and coaching.

How your child can prevent sports injuries

  • Be in proper physical condition to play the sport. Know and abide by the rules of the sport. Wear appropriate protective gear (for example, shin guards for soccer, a hard-shell helmet when facing a baseball or softball pitcher, a helmet and body padding for ice hockey). Know how to use athletic equipment. Always warm up before playing. Avoid playing when very tired or in pain. Get a preseason physical examination. Make sure there is adequate water or other liquids to maintain proper hydration.

*Adapted from Play It Safe, a Guide to Safety for Young Athletes, with permission of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Play Safe To Stay Safe

Luckily for Raoul and his mom, his injury wasn't serious. In a few weeks, he will be fully recovered and be able to play football again before the end of the season. Raoul now also knows how important it is to do everything possible to keep from being hurt so he won't have to sit on the team bench as much next season.

Source: National Institutes of Health (www.nih.gov)


Last Editorial Review: 7/8/2005