Childhood sports injuries occur when playing indoor or outdoor sports or while exercising. Causes include accidental injuries, inadequate training or practice, and improper or inadequate use of protective devices. The most common sports injuries in children are soft-tissue injuries and head injury. Some injuries can be minor such as bruises or sprains while others can be devastating with permanent injury sustained.
Some of the common sports injuries in children include:
- Sprains and Strains: A strain refers to the stretching or tear of a muscle or tendon (tissue that connects muscles to bone) while a sprain refers to the stretching or tear of a ligament (tissue that connect adjacent bones).
- Growth plate injuries: Growth plate injuries result from a damage to the area at the end of the long bones (growth plate), of a growing child.
- Repetitive Motion Injuries: Repetitive motion injuries are caused by overuse of the tendons and muscles. It includes stress fractures and tendinitis (inflammation of the tendon). These injuries cause severe pain and discomfort.
- Heat-Related Illnesses: Heat-related illnesses include dehydration (loss of body fluids), heat exhaustion and heat stroke (characterized by hot dry skin, headache, and dizziness leading to vascular collapse, coma, and death).
- Treatment for sports injuries depends on the nature of injury. The most common treatment recommended for sports-related injury is rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE). H
- Rest: Avoid activities that may cause injury.
- Ice: Ice packs can be applied to the injured area which will help to diminish swelling and pain. Ice should be applied over a towel to the affected area for 15-20 minutes four times a day for several days. Never place ice directly over the skin.
- Compression: Compression of the injured area helps to reduce swelling. Elastic wraps, air casts, and splints can accomplish this.
- Elevation: Elevate the injured part above heart level to reduce swelling and pain.
Some of the measures that are to be followed to prevent sports related injuries include:
- Follow an exercise program to strengthen the muscles
- Gradually increase your exercise level and avoid overdoing the exercise
- Ensure that you wear properly-fitted protective gear such as elbow guards, eye gear, facemasks, mouth guards, and pads, comfortable clothes, and athletic shoes before playing any sports activity which will help to reduce the chances of injury
- Make sure that you follow warm up and cool down exercises before and after sports activity. Exercises will help to stretch the muscles, increase flexibility, and reduce soft tissue injuries
- Avoid exercising immediately after eating a large meal
- Maintain a healthy diet which will nourish the muscles
- Avoid playing when you are injured or tired. Take a break for some time after playing.
- Learn all the rules of the game you are participating in
- Ensure that you are physically fit to play the sport