Each year in the U.S., an estimated 1.35 million children visit the emergency room with a sports-related injury. Fractures, abrasions, sprains, concussions and knee injuries are common sports injuries that are serious enough to require a visit to the ER. Knee injuries are high on the list of common complaints, specifically a very serious tear to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). ACL tears disproportionately affect young female athletes who suffer ACL injuries at eight times the rate of male athletes.
Many sports-related injuries are preventable with proper education and precautions. The competitive environment of many youth-related sports, even those for very young children, contributes to sports injuries. Safe Kids Worldwide, a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing the number of accidents in children, proposes four strategies for helping to raise awareness of sports-related injuries in young athletes.
First, everyone involved in youth sports needs to be educated about the risk of concussions, the warning signs, and the importance of early treatment. There are multiple free resources on the internet with information on concussions.
Second, parents and youth athletes need to support coaches’ decisions in concussion treatment and injury prevention. Many coaches feel pressured by the athlete or by parents in to allowing return to play when it may not be best. A coach is often in the best position in terms of training and experience to make a call on whether to play it safe regarding a concussion and that decision should be supported.
Third, athletes need to be taught good habits that will prevent injury. Warm-up stretching and exercises prior to play, proper hydration, and adequate rest are vital to preventing all types of injuries but can also increase focus which can decrease the risk of head injuries and falls.
Finally, young athletes need to be encouraged to advocate for their own safety and well-being. Some children may feel that if they ask to sit out from a game they are letting down their teammates, family, or coaches. Speaking up about an injury can help prevent long-term, serious health issues.
Sports injuries happen frequently, and sometimes the injuries could have been prevented or are the result of the negligence of someone else. If you or someone you know has suffered a sports-related injury, the San Francisco attorneys at Alexander Law Group, LLP are here to help. You can reach one of our California personal injury attorneys at 888.777.1776, or you can contact us online.