Your Kid’s Not Going Pro

A Youth Sports Blog

Posts Tagged ‘sports injuries

Youth sports is a pain in the back

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And not just in parents who have to lug equipment or sit for long stretches on hard, backless bleachers.

The American Journal of Sports Medicine has published a study finding that teen athletes are at much greater risk for lower back pain than their more sedentary peers — especially if those teens have played sports since they were very young.

According to the study’s findings, 71.1% of the teenagers who were highly active in sports reported experiencing at least one bout of lower back pain in their lives compared to 61.8% of the moderately active students and 50% of the students who never played organized sports.

Nearly 15% of the highly competitive athletes noted back pain that was accompanied with pain and numbness in the legs compared to 8.5% of the moderately active athletes and 4% of the non-athletes.

Roughly 10% of the highly active students said that they missed a day of school because of their back pain in comparison to 5.7% of the moderately active students and 4.4% of the students who never played youth sports.

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The most common sport for lower back pain? Volleyball. Least common? Soccer.

The study’s authors strongly advised they were not implying that teenagers should quit sports. Instead, they recommended more research and awareness on postures and positions that would prevent back pain. However, with the risk of back pain, concussions, overuse injuries, and so many other aches and pains suffered by children in high-level youth sports, somewhere a kid playing video games is saying, “Feeling great here!”

Written by rkcookjr

February 1, 2010 at 10:57 pm

Until it hurts… not so much

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cover-of-until-it-hurts1Great news! According to a study published in the online version of the medical journal Pediatrics, the number of youth baseball-related injuries reported by the nation’s hospital emergency departments dropped 24.9 percent between 1994 and 2006. The study’s authors said better safety equipment — helmets, mouth guards, breakaway bases — have gone a long way toward reducing the injury rate.

Bad news! According to that same study, the decrease also could be because there are more options than the hospital emergency room these days. For example, when my son hurt himself playing basketball, I took him to an urgent care center, not the hospital. Those visits would not show up in the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, the source data for the Pediatrics study. Also, overuse injuries are not the most likely to show up in the emergency department.

Still, even if the numbers aren’t 100 percent surefire, they’re still interesting. Your kid’s most likely injury, if you’re taking him to the hospital emergency room: soft tissue damage (mostly, meaning bruising) to the face (13.2 percent) and lacerations (cuts) to the face (also, 13.2 percent). Basically, getting hit in the face with a ball is the biggest injury problem. It’s a strong argument for masks on batting helmets, and masks for pitchers, first base and third base, the kind you see softball players wearing. Being hit the ball results in 46 percent of all injuries recorded in the study, while being hit by the bat is next at 24.9 percent. Getting injured while sliding ranked third, at 9.6 percent, but it ranked first, at 30.9 percent, for cause of fractures, a rate weighted by the higher incidence of sliding injuries among those 13 to 17.

The study itself notes the criticism of NEISS data because it doesn’t track much of anything beyond age of player and injury — no notes on days missed playing, or whether it was in a league or casual game, or what position a player was on the field when the injury occurred. The NEISS, and study, doesn’t track whether an injury was caused by overuse. So the study is mostly just an interesting little read. But it still gives a few clues into how and why kids get hurt, and what adults can do to lessen those chances while keeping the game loose and fun.

You always remember your first…

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…sports injury. Below is my 11-year-old son, pictured (thanks to my cruddy cellphone camera) at the Palos Immediate Care in Palos Heights, Ill., about 90 minutes after he rolled his foot off another player’s foot in the third quarter of the consolation game of the Alsip Park District 7th-8th grade coed league playoffs. (My son got in on a special 6th-graders-allowed exemption.) He made sure to tell everyone here that he misdirected the shot he defended as he got hurt, and that his team won. (And he even wondered about getting back in the game. Given we had no trainer with a cortisone needle, no.) Diagnosis: sprained right foot.