Organized sports, both in school and out of school, resulting in 3.5 million students suffering injuries. Around 1 in 10 children, or slightly higher, will suffer from sports-related injuries each year. In a person's childhood, around 33% of injuries will relate to sports.
Sprains and strains are the most common injuries, and death is rare, although it can and does occur.
Among American children, 21% of all traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are related to sports injuries. Hospital rooms will see over 775,000 children treated for these injuries per year. Parents can and should know how to properly help their children if they're injured in sports.
Know the Most Common Injuries
Every sport has its most common injuries. Cycling, skateboarding, and skating often result in head injuries because a participant in the sport falls and suffers from a concussion or TBI. In football, tackling results in 68% of injuries and blocking results in 22% of injuries.
Even with a helmet and proper safety equipment, 28% of all football injuries involve the head and face.
When children are brought to emergency rooms or urgent care, the most common injuries are:
- Pulled muscles
Coaches should be able to spot a player's injury and not force the player to remain on the field or ice. By attending practices, parents can keep a close eye on their children and their coach to ensure that the coach is following safe practices, too
Listen to Your Child
If a child tells you that they're in pain or not feeling well after being tackled or body checked, bring them to the doctor. A lot of parents want their children to "tough it out," but this can result in the injury progressing or worsening beyond the parent's control.
Safety equipment can help, but even in major sports, the equipment can only do so much to prevent an injury from occurring.
Purchase New Safety Equipment
Newer equipment results in fewer injuries. Parents should, whenever possible, purchase the latest safety equipment. Advancements in player safety are rapid, and not only are newer helmets especially important to lower the risk of brain injury, they're easy to find at an online sporting goods or hockey store.
Practice the RICE Method
The RICE method should be followed in most cases. If a child sustains a head injury, go straight to the doctor, as this method will not help. The RICE method is meant to help with sprains, strains and pulled muscles.
The method requires:
- Rest. Allow the injury to heal, and this means staying off of the injured area for at least 48 hours.
- Ice. The injured area should be iced for 20 minutes, 4 to 8 times per day as tolerable.
- Compression. Compression will keep swelling down and should be done using your doctor's advice.
- Elevate. Keep the injured area elevated above the heart level to further keep swelling down.
The RICE method should be followed for most injuries, but if the condition worsens or doesn't subside, go to the doctor immediately. Again, the method is best used for sprains, strains, and injuries that are not head-related.
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