It’s that time of year again. Spring has sprung, and with it comes the start of spring sports: baseball, tennis, lacrosse, soccer and track and field. Time for kids to dust off baseball gloves, clean off their cleats, dig out that tennis racket and get outside! But before they hit the pitch, field or track, the Orthopedics and Sports Medicine team at Seattle Children’s Hospital has a few tips to keep kids in the game and injury-free.
Unfortunately, injuries are inevitable, but there are preventive measures kids can take to reduce the risk of being permanently sidelined. Children’s doctors and athletic trainers remind kids to know their body and their limits.
Because of the wide array of sports played throughout spring, injuries can vary.
Sports concussions can be a serious health problem. They require early identification, careful evaluation and specialized management before a child or teen can return to play.
Although concussions have seen the most media coverage lately, another common sports injury the Orthopedics team explains are ACL injuries. ACL injuries are damage to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the knee. The ACL is one of four ligaments that keep the knee from wobbling or giving out when you move.
For junior high to college students, ACL injuries are more common in girls than boys. Young women are two to eight times more likely to tear their ACLs than boys of the same age, though doctors aren’t sure why. Some studies suggest that the problem may be related to hormones, quad and hamstring strength, coordination or anatomy.
What is clear is the mechanics involved: When the knee is forced into an unusual position, the ACL and other ligaments can tear, partially or all the way. ACL tears often occur when children:
Seattle Children’s Orthopedics and Sports Medicine team are experts in treating growing athletes. Athletic trainers and physical therapists often work with student athletes to increase their relative core and hamstring strength and practice jumping and landing mechanics to help decrease the likelihood of an ACL injury.
Before your child or teen goes out for spring sports this year, review these ten tips from the Orthopedics and Sports Medicine team:
Unfortunately, injuries do occur. Taking the proper steps to reduce the risk of injury is important, but sometimes things happen unexpectedly.
Remember, sports are fun and injuries can be prevented. Take the time to warm up properly, listen to your body and if something happens unexpectedly, seek early medical evaluation.