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Summer is the perfect time for barbecues and late-night stargazing. It’s also when millions of kids lace up for team sports practice, games, and training camps.
The U.S. National Institute of Health estimates that more than 38 million children participate in organized sports. And with any physical activity, injuries come with the territory. The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that as many as 4 in 10 emergency room visits are sports related for children ages 5-14.
While some injuries can’t be predicted and prevented, consider these Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals-approved tips before your kids take to the field or court this season:
Keep fluids flowing. Proper hydration is important for any physical exertion. Adding direct sun and high temps exacerbates the need for fluid intake. “Coaches need to allow for water breaks every 20 minutes during practice,” notes staff at Children’s Hospital of Georgia. Dr. Kody Moffatt of Omaha’s Children’s Hospital and Medical Center also encourages weighing children before and after games to ensure adequate fluid replenishment. Use misting sprays to keep skin cool and hydrated.
Don’t forget fatigue. Boston Children’s Hospital asserts that sprains and strains are by far the most common types of sports injuries. Repetitive muscle and tendon overuse is common in tennis and baseball. The American Sports Institute advises not pitching more than 100 innings in any calendar year, and also warns of muscle fatigue when pitchers double as catchers.
Add RICE to your recovery. No matter the sport, injured soft tissues usually respond to RICE: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Seek medical advice or treatment with particularly sore sprains and strains, and never “play through” an injury.
Head off fatal injuries. Although fatalities from sports injuries are rare, brain injury is the leading cause of death among all sports injuries. Wearing proper helmets can reduce head injury by 85 percent, according to medical sources at The Hospital for Sick Kids in Toronto. Forgetfulness, prolonged dizziness, delay in speech and double, fuzzy or light-sensitive vision are all signs that you should head to the hospital for a professional opinion.
Game on! Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll be poised for a safe summer.
How to Prevent Concussions and Sports-Related Injuries in Children
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