Injuries can happen to any child who plays sports, but knowing what to do after an injury occurs can help your kids get back in the game faster.
In a recent report, 90% of young athletes say they have been injured while playing a sport. In a separate survey, 54% of athletes who suffered an injury did not report it to their coach or parents in fear that they might miss an important game or let their team down. Youth sports not only helps kids stay healthy, they also promote a range of mental and psychological skills that can help later in life. Unfortunately, kids who play sports are also at risk for injuries that could have serious consequences if left untreated.
Do you know how to spot the most common youth sport injuries? Read on to test your knowledge and learn when to seek medical help.
Top Five Youth Sport Injuries Seen in the Emergency Room
Sprains are injuries to a ligament which is the tissue that connects two or more bones to a joint.
One or more ligaments is stretched or torn when a sprain occurs. While many activities can cause a sprain, they are more common in sports due to players falling, twisting or landing in a way that causes damage. Ankle sprains are most common. Pain, swelling and bruising are the most common symptoms of a sprain.
In most cases, the best treatment for a sprain is the R.I.C.E. method which stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation. To learn more about the R.I.C.E. method watch this short video featuring Five Star ER Nurse Katelin Nicholes.
Even with appropriate treatment there are times that you should seek emergency medical help for sprains. Severe sprains may require surgery to repair torn ligaments.
Strains are injuries to a muscle or tendon. Tendons are the tissue that connects muscle to bone. When a strain occurs, the tendon or muscle is stretched or torn. Much likes sprains, strains are common in sports due to players falling, twisting or landing in a way that causes damage to a tendon. Strains can also occur from over-stressing muscles or certain actives like lifting a heavy object the wrong way.
Pain, swelling, cramping and muscle weakness are the most common symptoms of a strain. In most cases, the best treatment for a strain is the R.I.C.E. method which stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation.
Just like sprains, strains may need to be evaluated by a medical professional to ensure surgery is not needed for a serious tear.
Contusion is another word for bruise, which most people are familiar with. Bruises can be caused by the force of a hard surface against the body that does not break the skin. After an injury, blood will pool underneath the skin’s surface which causes the discoloration of the skin that most people associate with a bruise. In most cases, bruises are mild and can also be treated with the R.I.C.E. method.
A fracture, also referred to as a broken bone, is the complete or partial break of a bone. Fractures are the second most common sports injury after sprains and strains.
The most common signs of a fracture are pain, swelling and deformity of the injured area (may look like a lump or a change in the shape of the limb). Sometimes the break is non-displaced, meaning the two pieces of bone are in line with one another. This can make broken bones can be hard to identify, which is why patients should be seen by a medical professional.
What is a concussion? A concussion is a brain injury after a bump or blow to the head.
Head impacts and concussions are a growing epidemic among young athletes. When left undetected, concussions can result in long-term brain damage and may even prove fatal.
“It’s important for parents and coaches to be aware of the injuries that can happen in youth sports. Youth athletes tend to underreport injuries and symptoms of injuries,” said Dr. Greg Hadden, Medical Director at Five Star ER in Dripping Springs. If your child is injured, take them to a professional medical for an evaluation before they play the sport again. Otherwise, the injury could get worse and not heal properly.
One recent study shows reported concussions are up 500% since 2010 in youth sports across the U.S. with most them happening during the months of September and October.
Because you cannot see a concussion, the signs and symptoms may not be immediately apparent. Common symptoms include headache, nausea or vomiting, balance problems or dizziness, blurry vision, sensitivity to light and sound, trouble concentrating, confusion and feeling sluggish/hazy/foggy or groggy.
To learn more about signs and symptoms of a concussion watch this short video featuring Five Star ER Medical Director Dr. Brian Aldred.
Seek medical attention immediately if your child has a head injury or is experiencing signs of a concussion.
About Five Star ER
Five Star ER is a freestanding 24 hour Emergency Room in Austin and the surrounding area. Our experienced physicians bring their excellent tradition of emergency care to a first-class, patient-centered freestanding ER.
Our patient-centered care means you will come first. We provide the same capabilities of a hospital emergency room, without the wait. Patients enjoy the comfortable waiting room lounge and private exam rooms. To find the location nearest you, click here.