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How to protect your child when playing sports, according to doctors


Whenever a head injury, cardiac arrest, or other serious injury in professional sports occurs, parents take a deep breath.

“That player is someone’s child. Is it mine?”

Stuart Berger, M.D., chair of the cardiology department at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, says heart attacks during sports are rare for anyone. Although they can occur in children and even teens, these injuries can occur regardless of whether you play sports or not.

Many children can get injured on the field, but the numbers are mostly declining and sports are important for physical and mental health, doctors say. Describes how to prevent and treat

Overall injuries from youth participation in soccer have declined dramatically since 2013, leveled off in 2020, and increased again in 2021, according to the latest statistics from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. doing.

According to the commission, more than 1 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 have suffered sports injuries and have had to go to the emergency room. In addition to sports such as basketball, soccer, and football, the agency also reported serious injuries from playground equipment, skateboarding, and more.

Children aged 5 to 14 were most likely to be injured in football in 2021. In 2021, 110,171 injuries were reported in children aged 5 to 14 years, while adolescents and young adults aged 15 to 24 years had 92,802 injuries.

Soccer and basketball also had a higher risk of injury for children, with 59,000 and 79,207 respectively.

The sports with the highest concussion rates were: In men’s soccer, he had 10.4 concussions per exposure to 10,000 athletes. In women’s soccer, 8.19 per 10,000 athletes exposed. Men’s ice hockey at 7.69 per 10,000 athletes exposed, according to a 2019 study.

Contact sports such as hockey, football, lacrosse and martial arts can increase the risk of serious injuries such as head injuries, while even seemingly safe sports such as swimming and track can pose a risk of overuse injury. All of these can be made safer with the right strategies, says Dr. Erin Grieve, a pediatric primary care sports medicine physician at the Stanford Center for Pediatric Orthopedic and Sports Medicine.

Here’s what to do if your child plays sports.

When it comes to cardiac events, Berger said screening is important.

In general, children are safe to play sports and exercise without worrying about a cardiac event, but in all types of sports, it is important to have a family history to identify those who may be at risk. He added that it is important to have certain health checks done.

“The concern is that some people may have underlying heart problems,” Berger said. It is designed to identify who you are.”

Head injuries are another major concern for families when it comes to getting kids involved in sports.

The majority of concussions in children are linked to youth sports, said Dr. Andrew Peterson, a clinical professor of pediatrics and director of primary care sports medicine at the University of Iowa.

The good news is that there is no strong evidence that a few concussions in childhood are associated with long-term effects in adulthood.

However, it is very important not to reinjure the head before the concussion has fully healed.

“What worries us most is these second impact events, where people get concussions on top of concussions,” Peterson said.

Coaches, referees and families should learn how to detect concussions to ensure young athletes are being properly cared for, Grieve said.

Signs and symptoms can be physical, such as headaches or sensitivity to light. Mental, confusion or difficulty paying attention. Emotional, with sadness and anxiety. Or sleep related, she added.

It’s important to remember that concussions can manifest in many different ways, and a particular symptom with one concussion does not necessarily mean that the next concussion will have the same symptoms. Mr Grieb said.

Grieve said good technique, proper equipment and adherence to regulations are key to safety.

A strong focus on both prevention and response is key to keeping children safe in sport.

Even in high-contact, high-risk sports, there has been a cultural shift to focus more rules and regulations on player protection and injury prevention, Grieve said.

Learning proper technique and wearing well-fitting gear can reduce the risk of serious injury in sports like football, hockey, and lacrosse.

In almost all sports, children should be given enough rest time within a week to avoid overuse injuries, she added.

In the case of a head injury, it’s important for young athletes to take adequate time and action to recover before returning to sport, Grieve said.

“If you break a bone, you put it in a cast and you can’t use your arm. When you hurt your head, you can’t put your head in a cast,” she said. It is very important to restore

Everyone – players, coaches and spectators – should be familiar with CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and how to use a defibrillator to respond to a heart attack, Berger said.

“Be prepared to intervene because it saves lives,” he added.

Berger said the takeaway message shouldn’t be keeping your child out of sports.

There may be discussions about the risks and precautions the family will take regarding the sport the child wants to play, but it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

According to Peterson, children’s sports and other physical activities are important for developing good habits that will keep them moving throughout their lives. It’s part of that, he added.

But sports also give kids leadership skills, life lessons, and fun, Grieve said.

“I think any sport, especially dangerous, would be safer than it used to be if there were coaches and referees who were focused on using proper technique and focused on following the rules of the game and engaged with it,” she said. I was.

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