Childhood Sports Injuries and Their Prevention (cont.)

Repetitive Motion Injuries

Painful injuries such as stress fractures (where the ligament pulls off small pieces of bone) and tendinitis (inflammation of a tendon) can occur from overuse of muscles and tendons. These injuries don't always show up on x-rays, but they do cause pain and discomfort. The injured area usually responds to rest. Other treatments include RICE, crutches, cast immobilization, or physical therapy.

Heat And Hydration - Playing It Safe Is Cool

Playing rigorous sports in the heat requires close monitoring of both body and weather conditions. Heat injuries are always dangerous and can be fatal. Children perspire less than adults and require a higher core body temperature to trigger sweating. Heat-related illnesses include dehydration (deficit in body fluids), heat exhaustion (nausea, dizziness, weakness, headache, pale and moist skin, heavy perspiration, normal or low body temperature, weak pulse, dilated pupils, disorientation, fainting spells), and heat stroke (headache, dizziness, confusion, and hot dry skin, possibly leading to vascular collapse, coma, and death). These injuries can be prevented.

Playing safe in the heat is cool

  • Recognize the dangers of playing in the heat.
  • Respond quickly if heat-related injuries occur.
  • Schedule regular fluid breaks during practice and games.
  • Drinking water is the best choice; others include fruit juices and sports drinks.
  • Kids need to drink 8 ounces of fluid every 20 minutes, plus more after playing.
  • Make player substitutions more frequently in the heat.
  • Wear light-colored, "breathable" clothing, and wide-brimmed hats
  • Use misting water sprays on the body to keep cool.

*Adapted with permission from Patient Care Magazine, copyrighted by Medical Economics.

Exercise Is Beneficial

Even though Raoul got hurt, his involvement in sports is important. Exercise may reduce his chances of obesity, which is becoming more common in children. It may also lessen his risk of diabetes, a disease that is sometimes associated with a lack of exercise and poor eating habits.

As a parent, it is important for you to match your children to the sport, and not push him or her too hard into an activity that he or she may not like or be capable of doing. Sports also helps children build social skills and provides them with a general sense of well-being. Sports participation is an important part of learning how to build team skills. For more, please visit the Fitness Center.