School is back in session, which means the fall sports season has begun. And with sports comes injuries and with injuries comes time away from practices, games and working on areas that need improvement. But, can these injuries be avoided by education on injury prevention and sportsmanship?
Yes they can. And according to a research report done by SafeKids.org in August 2014, there is an “alarming gap in what is being done to keep young athletes safe while playing sports.” In fact, SafeKids.org also found out that in 2013, there were 1.24 million kids that were seen in the emergency room due to a sports-related injury.
To put that into perspective, that’s:
*3,397 every day
*141 every hour
*1 every 25 seconds
The kids that were injured were 19 years old and younger. Among them, 13 to 15 year olds accounted for 37% of the injuries, which was the largest number.
Here are some even more interesting discoveries USA Today found out from the survey:
*23% of the coaches, 28% of the athletes and 31% of the parents, all said they don’t do anything to prevent injuries.
*42% of players report that they have hidden or downplayed an injury during a game so they could keep playing; 62% say they know someone else who has done so.
*54% say they have played injured and 70% of those kids say they told a coach or parent that they were hurt.
*Top reasons given for playing injured: it wasn’t that bad (18%); couldn’t let the team down (13%); didn’t want to be benched (12%).
*33% say they have been injured as a result of dirty play from an opponent; 28% agree that it is normal to commit hard fouls and play rough to “send a message” during a game.
*53% of coaches say they have felt pressure from a parent or player to put an athlete back in a game if the child has been injured.
These discoveries are alarming, and from a sports medicine perspective, the coaches, parents and athletes should be educated on injury prevention. More importantly, these injured athletes should never be playing while they’re hurt. This will only further the injury and cause more damage, potentially leaving the player out the entire season instead of just a few games.
To help you learn about injury prevention, here are a few pointers from SafetyKids.org:
*Set ground rules to the players and parents at the beginning of each season. This way everyone is aware of the athlete’s safety and how everyone can come together to prevent injuries.
*Teach athletes ways to prevent injuries by using proper technique, strength training, warm-up exercises and stretching.
*Prevent overuse injuries by encouraging athletes to take time from playing only one sport and to get stronger and develop skills learned in another sport. (This is very crucial. We see injuries all of the time from athletes that play one sport year round. By not taking the right amount of time off from a sport, is causing more damage to your kid than you think. We recommend 10-week breaks.)
*Encourage athletes to speak up when they’re injured. Remove injured athletes from play.
*Put an end to dirty play and rule breaking. Call fouls that could cause injuries.
*Encourage coaches to get certified in CPR, AED use and injury prevention skills.
If you would like to learn more about injury prevention, contact one of our facilities to set up an appointment to speak with a physical therapist or strength and conditioning specialist.