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Wellness Wednesday: Preventing sports injuries in kids

Posted at 2:37 PM, Sep 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-29 16:37:22-04

Fall sports are back in full swing and with that comes sports injuries.

Sports injuries can make up around 20% of all injury-related emergency room visits, said Regence Executive Medical Director Dr. Daniel Meltzer.

"They are particularly common amongst adolescents and young adults," Meltzer said. "About 70% of these injuries are in the 10- to 20-year-old range and not surprisingly more common in males."

Activities that can land young athletes in the emergency room more often are contact sports including football but also sports where athletes get up to high-rates of speed like skateboarding and cycling. And head injuries are not the only sports-related injuries to worry about but is common.

"Amongst children and adolescents, sports and recreational activities contribute to about 20% of all traumatic brain injuries," he said.

And "play through the pain" and working through an injury may not be the way to handle injuries anymore. Signs to consider for head injuries include headaches but also more sever signs such as change in memory or difficulty walking.

Protecting against injuries includes making sure young athletes are wearing the right protective gear but also making sure they are in shape as well.

"For kids in particular, we always recommend a sports physical with their child's healthcare provider to make sure they are physically fit," Meltzer said. "Ease into it, get the right training."

Practicing, easing into it and making sure the child understands the sport also helps prevent unnecessary injuries.