BOSTON (CBS) – With youth sports seasons getting underway, and the number of injuries suffered by young athletes on the rise, Boston Children’s Hospital is trying to see that number decrease.
Nearly 50-percent of all football players sustain an injury each season, and there is an increasing frequency of head trauma and concussions in soccer players, according to Children’s. And with students juggling multiple sports throughout the year, more players are also suffering from overuse injuries.
“Most common injuries can be prevented when players train properly, play by the rules and wear the right equipment,” said Dr. William Meehan, director of the Sports Concussion Clinic at Children’s. “Football, soccer and other popular youth sports are important for maintaining good physical health and do not have to be dangerous if player safety is kept top of mind.”
“It’s tempting for players to play through pain, but toughing it out may lead to more serious injuries,” adds Dr. Benton Heyworth of the Orthopedic Center Sports Medicine Program at Children’s. “Fortunately, there are things you can do to avoid the dangerous path to chronic injuries.”
To help parents, coaches and athletes get prepared for this sports season, Boston Children’s Hospital has put together a number of soccer and football injury prevention tips to keep kids safe on the field.
PREPARATION: A pre-season exam can spot existing injuries, the presence of concussion symptoms, or heart and lung problems that put athletes at risk for injury.
WARM UP: Always warm up before practices and games to get the blood flowing and muscles loose.
KNOW THE SPORT: Injuries often occur when players are out of position, confused about assignments or playing outside the rules. Young, inexperienced players need to study their playbooks and understand exactly what they are supposed to do and where they are supposed to be on every play.
STRESS FRACTURES: Wearing unsupportive or ill-fitting shoes, using incorrect playing techniques, training improperly, or training intensively after a sedentary period can lead to lower extremity stress fractures.
CONCUSSIONS: Players with concussions may feel dizzy, have headaches and vision problems and experience nausea or vomiting. Concussion symptoms aren’t always obvious, so coaches, staff and parents should pay close attention for at least 24 hours after a player has been hit in the head.
For more information on preventing sports injuries visit childrenshospital.org/sportsmed.