Youth Sports Injuries

Posted on 05-23-2024 in Rotator Cuff, Shoulder, Hand, Foot/Ankle, Youth Sports, Primary Care Sports Medicine & Knee by Dr. Joshua Hackel, Dr. Chris O'Grady, Dr. Roger Ostrander, Dr. Ryan Riggs

Youth sports participation promotes physical health and leadership skills and is a positive outlet for children within our communities. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 3.5 million youth sports injuries occur each year in the U.S. Of those injuries, one in three participants seeks medical attention, resulting in lost sports and school time. Fortunately, the CDC also concluded that more than 50 percent of these injuries are preventable.

In recognition of National Youth Sports Safety Month, the providers at North Florida Bone & Joint Specialists would like to take this opportunity to educate our community about the importance of injury prevention in youth sports to help minimize the risk while playing safely. 

One of the most important steps in preventing sports injuries is proper conditioning. Young athletes should engage in a regular conditioning program that includes stretching and mobility training, as well as strength training and cardiovascular exercise. By building up their endurance and strength, young athletes will be better equipped to handle the demands of their sport and less likely to suffer from injuries like sprains, strains, and fractures.

In addition to proper conditioning, young athletes should also wear appropriate protective gear. Depending on the sport, this could include helmets, mouthguards, shin guards, or padding. Parents and coaches should ensure all equipment is fitted correctly and in good condition. Protective gear won't necessarily prevent all injuries but can minimize the risk of serious harm.

Another important factor in injury prevention is proper technique. Coaches should take the time to teach young athletes the correct way to perform specific moves or actions in their sport. For example, a basketball coach might teach players how to land safely after jumping, while a soccer coach might instruct players on kicking the ball without putting excessive strain on their knees. Athletes using the proper technique are less likely to experience overuse injuries or strains caused by incorrect movements. 

Finally, maintaining adequate nutrition and hydration is one of the most overlooked aspects of injury prevention. By following basic guidelines for proper nutrition, athletes can stay at peak performance before, during, and after activities. Considering Florida's extreme heat and humidity, maintaining adequate hydration is equally crucial in preventing heat strokes and overall performance.

Ultimately, the key to injury prevention in youth sports is a combination of education, preparation, and awareness. By learning about injury prevention strategies, young athletes, parents, and coaches can work together to create a safe and healthy environment for everyone involved. For additional information and helpful resources, visit the STOP Sports Injuries campaign online.

It's also important to recognize when an injury has occurred and seek medical attention promptly. Ignoring or playing through pain can only worsen an injury and prolong recovery. As experts in their field, Dr. Josh Hackel, Dr. Chris O'Grady, Dr. Roger Ostrander and Dr. Ryan Riggs provide specialized care for various youth sports injuries and conditions. Learn more about our orthopaedic and sports medicine specialists or request an appointment online today.

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