The impending arrival of spring means warmer weather (soon hopefully!) and the start of the outdoor sports season. As children everywhere get excited about joining the community soccer or lacrosse team, parents begin to feel a nagging worry at the back of their mind. Here’s a look at some ways you can ensure your child’s safety while still allowing them to enjoy whatever sport they are partaking in.
Know Your Sprains
If your child has managed to injure themselves, it’s nice to be able to have a general idea of what the injury might be. This will allow you to judge the relative severity and can better inform you of what to do during the interim period between the time of injury and the doctor’s office. For example, we often hear of a sprained foot or ankle. Specifically, a sprain refers to any injury to a muscle or a tendon. While muscle injuries are fairly self-explanatory, tendon injuries may be less so. The purpose of tendons in the body is to provide muscle attachment and to prevent excessive or sudden movements. A tendon can tear if it is strained by being pulled or pushed the wrong way. Ankle sprains are very common due to the amount of running and demand on tendons and muscles in the area in most sports.
Besides muscles and tendons, bones can also be damaged during physical activity. A stress fracture is a hairline fracture of the bone that is caused by excessive repetitive motion, or by overworking the muscles attached to the bone. These injuries are often tricky because they don’t always show up on x-rays and can be very painful. Resting the injured area and applying ice are the best ways to deal with the symptoms while you consult with a doctor on the best method of treatment.
Prevention and Treatment
Knowing about injuries great, but fairly irrelevant without knowing how to best treat them. As with many other risks, the best treatment is prevention! Before enrolling your child in any organized sports team, double check that the necessary safeguards against injuries are in place. Coaches should be trained in basic first aid and should know what to do in an emergency situation. Ensure that you’ve provided proper gear for the sport your child is participating in. A good pair of runners can really help reduce ankle strain. Look and see that proper warm ups and cool down exercises are included before and after the main sporting event. Finally, always bring water to keep you child well hydrated. Snacks for after the game are always appreciated!
Joining the community team can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your child’s early years. Make sure it’s a memorable but safe one by knowing what the common kinds of injuries are and how to respond to them. If in doubt always check with a doctor or certified professional!