Children Susceptible to Sports Injuries

Sporting activities are growing in popularity among children and teenagers. Almost 50% of boys and approximately 25% of girls between 8 and 16 years of age compete in organized sports programs each year. Millions more children and teenagers participate in physical education classes and recreational sports throughout the year. But, as participation increases, so do sports related injuries. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission more than 200,000 children aged 5 to 14 were treated for baseball-related injuries in 2007 and this number increase to 500,000 when high school students are included.

Children are susceptible to injuries because their muscles, ligaments, tendons and bones are still growing. Uneven growth patterns are very common during heavy growth periods and this increases the chances of injury. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons offers these tips to help avoid injury:

  • Keep in good physical condition and don’t play while in pain or feeling tired.
  • Pay strict attention to following the rules of the game.
  • Use protective gear, such as batting helmets, athletic supporters and shoes with plastic cleats, and make sure the equipment fits properly. For baseball and sofball, catchers also need catchers’ mitts, chest guards, face guards, and knee and shin pads.
  • Avoid injuries by warming up muscles before playing. Perform several minutes of light exercise followed by slow, gentle stretches, and hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds.
  • Stay away from steroids or other performance-enhancing substances.
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