Youth Sports Injuries on the Rise According to Reports

Youth sports injuries are on the rise, accounting for up to four in ten emergency room visits for children between five and fourteen years old. More than three million children under 14 are treated for sports-related injuries each year, and there are two million teens treated each year as well. There are several reasons why they are occurring more often.

Here are the biggest factors contributing to this trend.

The Rise of Year-Round Sports

Year-round sports are contributing to overuse injuries in kids. Kids who keep playing year-round don’t get a few months off to let their bodies naturally recover. This leads to sports specific training that turns into repetitive stress injuries. Another contributing factor is the push to practice year-round even if the season is limited. Their bodies don’t get a break from the repetitive strain. It is for these reasons that pediatricians say kids shouldn’t specialize in a sport until puberty.

youth sports injuries

The Kid Who Does It All

Overuse injuries are simply those caused by overusing a particular body part. What many don’t realize is that playing two or more sports that strain the same body parts, albeit in different ways, can cause overuse injuries.

This is especially true if they simply don’t get a day off from sports period. Cross-training is only beneficial if it adds variety without contributing to overdoing it. This problem is sometimes caused by parents trying to fill out a resume for college or trying everything to get a scholarship. Pediatricians say that kids should only play one sport per season to minimize their risk, and that kids should get a month off between “seasons” to let their bodies truly recover. Furthermore, kids need at least one day off per week to truly rest from all sports.

The Push for Pro

Many kids are pushed to perform at higher levels than they’re capable of, causing injuries. A related problem is the organizational format of adult-driven sports. The kids are put through grueling drills and long formal games. When kids are playing on their own in informal games, they take more breaks and moderate themselves. When pushed by adults, they often don’t.

Another issue is the drive to return to the field in the quest for gold when the child really needs to stay home to recover from the injury. In other cases, they are pushed to play through the pain in the misguided belief that the most important thing is winning, when parents and kids alike need to be thinking about the long-term impact.

Starting Them Too Early

One factor contributing to overuse injuries is the increasingly competitive sports at ever younger ages. Younger children are particularly prone to repetitive injuries because they’re still growing. They’re also more vulnerable to serious injuries because areas like growth-plates are still forming. They are not as familiar with their body or know when they’re pushing things, too. Or they don’t know how to properly use safety equipment and get severely hurt. That’s why clinics like the Urgency Room, which are used to dealing with common sports related injuries like these, are seeing a spike in demand for concussions, strains and stitches.

Sometimes the problems arise because parents think the kids have to be in organized sports to be healthy. In reality, they can get the same health benefits from riding a bike or playing in the backyard.

Sometimes the desire to get the most out of life or see the best possible future for our children ends up getting them hurt. And that is, unfortunately, landing too many in the Emergency Room or permanently on the sidelines.