Sports-Related Injujries Are Breaking More Records. Here’s Why

Overuse may be to blame for the rise in sports-related injuries in children.  Coaches have a duty to keep children safe. When they fail, they could be liable for the injuries caused.

What Is Fueling the Rise in Injuries?

The number of children experiencing sports injuries continues to increase. According to the Centers for Disease Control, sports-related injuries are the leading cause of emergency room visits for children between the ages of 12 and 17. But older children aren’t the only ones getting hurt. About 40% of hospital visits for children between 5 and 14 years old are for sports-related injuries.

Concussions were once the main concern with sports participation, but now the trend has turned to overuse injuries. Young athletes who play a single sport instead of multiple sports throughout the year are at a higher risk for overuse injuries. A recent study conducted at the University of Wisconsin found that 81 percent of children and teens who specialized in a sport year-round were at the highest risk for overuse injuries.

Repetitive motions, such as those used in performing the same drills, month after month puts excess stress and wear and tear on a child’s growing musculoskeletal system. This system includes bones, growth plates, joints, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments. Overuse injuries and muscle imbalances are caused by repetitive motions that are also involved with performing the same athletic actions constantly. Children are especially susceptible to such injuries because their bodies are still growing.

What Can Parents Do to Protect Their Children?

It can be tough for a parent to say no to their child’s desire to specialize in a single sport. However, parents need to be willing to draw the line to protect the health and well-being of their children. To minimize the risk of injury parents should:

  • Make sure their child’s coach is trained and will not allow a child who is injured to continue to participate in activities
  • Not allow their children to play through pain and take them to a doctor if the pain is severe or does not go away after a few days
  • Avoid allowing their children to specialize in a single sport until after puberty when their body growth begins to slow down
  • Encourage their children to participate in a variety of physical activities
  • Speak to their children’s pediatrician or sports doctor for recommendations to reduce risks of sports injuries