Kids First Child Safety
Kids First Sports Safety, Inc. combines child safety, fundamentals, and fitness
with skills training in our programs.
Each day, millions of youths in the United States and Canada participate in sports
activities, from soccer fields, to baseball diamonds.
It's called playing, but sports activities are more than play. Participation in athletics
improves physical fitness, coordination, and self-discipline, and gives children valuable opportunities to learn teamwork.
Sports Activities can also result in injuries, some minor, some serious, and still others resulting in lifelong medical problems.
Each year, more than 3.5 million sports-related injuries in children under age 15 are treated in hospitals, doctors offices, clinics, ambulatory surgery centers and hospital emergency rooms in the United States, according to the National Electronic Injry Suveillance System of the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The number of sport-related injuries involving children ages 5 through 14 years includes:
Basketball - 574,000
Football - 448,200
Baseball - 252,665
Soccer - 227,100
Hockey - 80,700
Gymnastics - 75,000
Volleyball - 50,100
Reason for Concern
Youth Athletes are not merely small adults, their bones, muscles, tendons,
and ligaments are still growing, which makes them more susceptible to injury.
Types of Injuries
Injuries among young athletes fall into two basic categories: overuse injuries
and acute injuries. Both types include injuries to the safe (muscles and ligaments) and bones.
Acute injuries are caused by a sudden trauma. Common acute injruies among young
athletes includes contusions (bruises), sprains (a partial or complete tear of a ligament), strains (a partial or complete tear of a muscle or tendon) and fractures. But not all injuries are caused by a single, sudden twist, fall or collision. A series of small injuries to immature bodies can cause minor fractures, minimal muscle tears, or progressive bone deformities, known as overuse injuries.
As an example, "Little League Elbow" is the term used to describe a group of common overuse injuries in young throwers involved in many sports, not just baseball. Other common overuse injuries occur in the heels and knees with tears in the tissue where tendons attach to the leg bone or the heel bone.
Contact sports have inherent dangers that put young athletes at special risk for severe injuries. Even with rigorous training and proper safety equipment, youngsters are at risk for severe injuries to the neck, spinal cord, and growth plates. However, following the rules of the game and using proper equipment can decrease these risks.
Play It Safe
Young Athletes need proper training for sports. They should be encouraged to train for the sport rather than expecting the sport itself to get them into shape. Many injuries can be prevented if youths follow a regular conditioning program with incorporated exercises designed specifically for their chosen sport. A well-structured, closely supervised weight-training regimen may modestly help youngsters prepare for the athletic activities. Young athletes should have their coaches help them design a conditioning program suited to their needs.
Parents should make sure theid child's coaches have the appropriate qualifications to supervise a particular sport, provide well-maintained safety equipment, and help with proper conditioning for that sport.
An estimated 500,000 young athletes, boys and girls, use black-market anabolic steroids to improve their athletic performance. Steroids have been shown to increase muscle mass, but they can cause serious and potentially life-threatening complications and should be avoided.
Youth sports should always be fun. The "win at all costs" attitude of many parnets, coaches, professional athletes, and peers can lead to injuries. A young athlete striving to meet the unrealistic expectations of others may ignore the warning signs of injury and continue to play with pain.
Coaches and Parents can prevent injuries by fostering an atmosphere of healthy competition that emphasizes self-reliance, confidence, cooperation, and a positive self-image, rather than just winning.