Kids' Sports Injuries
Raising Awareness of Head Injuries continued...
A high school football team might have 70 kids in a workout. You can’t expect the coach to look every kid in the eye. So Marshall and his colleagues at Children's Healthcare are teaching the buddy system to the school sports teams they work with.
“From time to time, you check on your buddy,” Marshall says. “Did he take a good shot? Ask him if he’s seeing stars. Is he feeling light-headed? Make him tell you if something hurts, or he doesn’t feel right, and let somebody know.”
In Marshall’s experience, overuse injuries are becoming more common than accidents.
“Many kids want, or feel the need, to play the same sport year-round, to maintain that spot on the coveted travel team or elite team. So we’re seeing more injuries related to overuse,” he says. “If you do nothing but play tennis year-round, you’re using the same muscles in the same fashion over and over. Same thing if you’re a pitcher in baseball.”
Again, Marshall focuses on prevention:
- Consider mixing up your sports: Play football in the fall, basketball in the winter, soccer in the spring, etc.
- Use your muscles in different ways, not just repetitive motions.
- If your child plays one sport year-round, preseason physicals should focus on overused muscles.
“For example, if you know your kid is only going to play baseball all year and he’s a pitcher, a good preseason sports physical will include a really close look at his shoulder muscles,” Marshall says. “Or if she’s a competitive cheerleader or a tumbler, look at the core, the lower back."
He also recommends physical therapy before the season. "For any sport, injury management starts with injury prevention."