Shriners Hospitals for Children Ask the Experts 2016
Ask the Expert: Shriners Hospitals for Children - Twin Cities
Topic: Youth Sports Injuries
Q: Are sports injuries really an issue among children and adolescents?
A: An estimated 40% of all traumatic shoulder dislocations occur in patients under 22 years of age. The majority of these occur in young athletes participating in collision or contact sports. The younger the age of the first dislocation, the more likely subsequent shoulder dislocations will occur. Other common pediatric acute sports injuries include knee disc injuries, kneecap dislocations, fractures, and ankle sprains.
Q: What are some risk factors contributing to youth sports injuries?
A: The ultra-competitive culture of youth sports encourages playing through pain, which is especially risky to growing kids. 42% of injured youth athletes hide or downplay the injury so that they can continue playing. Undiagnosed and untreated injuries can lead to long term injuries that will affect the child well into adulthood.
Q: As a parent, how can I help prevent my child's sports injury?
A: Most injuries are sustained from repetitive trauma. In most cases, rest (the most important), ice, and non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs (aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen) will alleviate the problem. Parents and coaches should not encourage the young athlete to play through the pain and follow sports specific guidelines.
The ultra-competitive culture of youth sports encourages playing through pain, which is especially risky to growing kids. 42% of injured youth athletes hide or downplay the injury so that they can continue playing.
Q: What is the next step if rest does not alleviate the problem?
A: There may be an underlying problem that predisposes the child to injury and so it is important to fully evaluate the whole patient before zeroing in on one acute injury. At Shriners Hospitals for Children®—Twin Cities, we understand that children are not little adults and recommend that this full evaluation be done by a fellowship trained Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgeon.