Youth Sports Injuries
Youth Sports Injuries in Children
Every year, millions of children partake in "America's pastime" by joining their local Little League Baseball and Softball clubs. But while organized sports like Little League Baseball improve children's fitness, self-confidence, and overall well-being, as well as teach invaluable life and social lessons, all sports have a risk of injury.
Youth Sports Injuries Statistics
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 2.6 million children up to age 19 are treated in the emergency department each year for sports and recreation-related injuries. There are different types of sports-related injuries; the most common in children affect ligaments (sprains), muscles (strains), and bones (fractures), and may result from sustained use of a ligament or muscle without adequate rest, improper technique, or lack of proper equipment.
Because it can be difficult to determine if an injury is a sprain, strain or fracture, PIH Health Orthopedic and Sports Medicine specialist Harvey Chou MD recommends treating all injuries as severe until proven otherwise. Consider the following scenario: a young batter slams a fly ball into the outfield, sprints past first base and slides into second, but her foot catches the gravel awkwardly and she twists her ankle in the process. "Sprains usually occur at joints from a twisting injury, which causes ligaments to overstretch or tear," explains Dr. Chou. "An X-ray may be needed to rule out a fracture." Moreover, Dr. Chou stresses that if there is any possibility that a bone is broken, professional treatment is needed immediately.
Youth Sport Injuries - When to See a Doctor
Dr. Chou recommends seeing a doctor if you, your child, or someone you know experiences:
- Rapid and significant swelling or bruising at the site of injury (within 15 minutes of the initial injury)
- Inability to move the injured joint
- Inability to put any weight on the injured limb
- Loss of feeling at the site of injury
"If a person ignores the signs of swelling and pain, and becomes active too soon, the joint may not heal properly and will remain weak," Dr. Chou warns. "There's a good chance that it will become re-injured, only this time more severely, and could lead to other problems down the road." PIH Health treats sports related injuries and other time sensitive medical conditions at its various Urgent Care centers, which are open every day from 10 am to 8 pm. For more information, please visit PIHHealth.org/UCC.
To schedule an appointment with a PIH Health Orthopedic & Sports Medicine specialist, call 562.789.5461. To learn more, visit PIHHealth.org/Ortho.