Children’s Sports Injuries — Are you Prepared?

School is officially in full session and fall sports are well underway. Unfortunately, that also means kids sports injuries are imminent.

Youth Sports-Related Injuries are on the Rise

In a day and age where youth sports seem to be becoming more and more competitive at younger ages, one challenge that arises is protecting our children from harm, sometimes even from themselves. 

20 years ago, the statistics were already sobering. High school athletes accounted for 2 million injuries, including 30,000 hospitalizations each year. Over 3.5 million kids under age 14 received medical treatment for sports injuries each year. Imagine what it is today. According to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, eight million children are seen by doctors for sports-related injuries, and sports injuries are the second leading cause of ER visits for children.

Common Sports Injuries in Kids

With injuries from sports being so common — even in noncontact sports — it’s important to be aware of potential risks so you can be prepared should something happen to your child athlete. 

Some of the most common fall sports injuries, by sport, are:

Soccer

  • Concussions
  • Hip flexor tendonitis
  • Ankle sprains
  • Knee injuries (ACL tears, meniscal tears)

Cross Country

  • Stress fractures
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Strains (calf, quadriceps, hamstring) 
  • Shin splints
  • Tendonitis
  • Runner’s Knee 

Football

  • Concussion
  • Shoulder dislocations / acromioclavicular (AC) joint sprains
  • ACL tears / MCL sprains
  • Heat injuries (heat exhaustion, heat stroke)
  • Fractures (finger, ankle, wrist)

Cheerleading

  • Strains and sprains (ankle, neck, lower back, knee, wrist)
  • Back injuries (back pain, Spondylolysis stress fracture)
  • Concussions

Golf

  • Wrist fracture
  • Golfer’s elbow (Medial epicondylitis)
  • Back pain (stress fracture)
  • Rotator Cuff Tendonitis

Other popular fall sports, like lacrosse, field hockey, tennis, and swimming share many of the same injuries as mentioned above. 

How to Treat a Sports Injury

Of course each injury is different, but a basic set of guidelines can be followed in cases that are minor. Doctors recommend the P.R.I.C.E. protocol: Protect, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. 

  • Protect: Protect the injured area from further harm (by using a sling, crutches, or some other form of support).
  • Rest: Reduce your physical activity and do not use the injured area.
  • Ice: Apply an ice pack (or a bag of frozen peas/corn) to the affected area for 15 minutes every couple of hours, over top of a towel or paper towel to protect the skin.
  • Compression: Wrap an elastic bandage around the injured area to limit swelling and provide support.
  • Elevate: Keep the injured area raised above the level of your heart to help control swelling.

These guidelines should be followed for the first 24-48 hours after a minor injury. However, if you haven’t already seen a doctor, there is no improvement, or conditions worsen after this time, be sure to visit a doctor or urgent care facility to be checked out.

But Remember, Sports are Fun!

Don’t let the lists above scare you away from letting your child participate in sports. Be sure to teach them how to listen to their body, and remind them that their well-being is more important than any game or competition.

Participation in sports can be an important character-building activity, teaching discipline, hard work, teamwork, sportsmanship, self-esteem, and perseverance. And of course, we definitely encourage sports as a fun way to boost physical activity in children! 

Yes, injuries may happen. But if they do, remember, we have four convenient urgent care locations throughout Hampton Roads. In and Out Express Care is here to serve you and your family, including kids as young as two years old. With the right care team on your side, you can have peace of mind knowing your child will be well-taken care of in the event of an unexpected sports injury.