Sports activities for children can improve physical health, coordination and encourage self-discipline. However, children and adolescents are at a greater risk of injury than adults because they are still growing. Consequences of injuries can include impaired growth and possibly lead to long term health problems. Fortunately, many youth injuries can be prevented.
Differences Between Children and Adults
- Children are still growing. This means that children’s bones, muscles and tendons are more susceptible to injury. Additionally, youth athletes are different from adults in strength, coordination and stamina.
- Children vary in size and maturity. High school athletes, particularly, vary in size and ability. As children of varying skill and strength levels play together, the risk of injury increases.
- Children can injure growth plates. Growth plates are areas of developing cartilage. Because they are weaker in children, they can be more easily injured.
Preventing Youth Sports Injuries
- Ensure that your child, student or team member is in proper physical condition before participating in a sport. A pre-participation examination by a doctor or orthopedic specialist can help prevent potential problems.
- Ensure that athletes wear appropriate protective gear for their sport.
- Be sure that all participating athletes use athletic equipment properly (example: correctly adjusting the bindings on snow skis).
- Always be sure that the young athlete warms up prior to playing.
- Be sure that the child or youth stays hydrated.
- Ensure that the athlete avoids playing when very tired or in pain.
If your child experiences a sports injury, be sure to contact us for a consult so we can prevent further harm to the affected area.