In a study done in 2013 over 1.3 million students were sent to the ER because of sports related injuries, "Far too many kids are arriving in emergency rooms for injuries that are predictable and preventable," Carr says.
Using data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, the report focused on pediatric sports injuries related to 14 common sports activities, including football, cheerleading, soccer and basketball. More than 46.5 million children played team sports in 2011, says the report. It finds that in 2012, 12% of all ER visits (163,670) involved a concussion, the equivalent of one every three minutes. Nearly half (47%) were in kids ages 12 to 15.
Nor do the figures highlight the significant number of overuse injuries, "about 25% of which end up being serious," he says. Overuse injuries to tendons, bones and joints can result from playing the same sport and performing the same movements too often, too hard or at too young an age with inadequate recovery time.
Research reported earlier this year by Jayanthi and colleagues found that young athletes who played a single sport for more hours a week than years they were old — such as a 10-year-old who played 11 or more hours of soccer — were 70% more likely to experience serious overuse injuries.
Letting the body rest, adding preventive and strengthening exercises, and following proper technique are among injury prevention strategies recommended in the new report. It also says athletes should be encouraged to speak up about injuries, coaches should be supported in injury-prevention decisions, and parents and young athletes should become better educated about sports safety."
Kids these days are under tremendous pressure to do something, anything, that helps them get a scholarship into college, and one of the ways to do that is sports. Parents are having the kids start organized sports younger and younger, and I am not talking about the old neighborhood football, basketball or soccer game, I am talking about team sports, with at least weekly practices. Now, sure, kids are a lot more resilient in some ways to injuries but they are still growing, which puts it's own strain on the body. Add that in with repetitive actions such as you do in sports drills, 3-6 days a week practicing, lack of sleep because they still have to do homework, rushed meals and general stress from trying to meet parental expectations and you have a recipe for injury, anxiety disorders, depression and a whole lot of other things.
Kids, can and do, get stressed and injured and quite often they will be more reluctant to talk about either because they don't want to let their teammates or parents down. One way to help prevent injuries and decrease stress is by getting your kid massages, I have personally worked on several student athletes and they love the results. Students, or anyone really, can remain fully clothed and of course I always have an adult in the treatment room with me so to make sure everyone is comfortable. Working on student athletes, or even a non athlete who is just stressed, helps them in so many ways. I have worked out tight shoulders from baseball players, sore legs and glutes of swimmers and helped a student who has high anxiety get some much needed sleep and grounding. Just because they are young, doesn't mean they are bulletproof or immune to injury.
Sports like gymnastics have a high amount of impact that the muscles have to absorb, golf is very repetitive and puts strain on whichever side you swing with, swimmers practice insane amounts and quite often have very tight muscles that need to be worked out. I had one young lady who at the age of 16 was already looking at shoulder surgery because she'd been a competitive swimmer since a very early age and her body was starting to fall apart because of it. Professional athletes get routine massages and various forms of physical therapy to keep them in peak condition and they still get injured. A young student athlete is carrying a full school load on top of doing all the required practices and games so they are doing double duty while usually not getting anywhere near the same amount of monitoring of their physical well being. Very often they don't get any actual "rest days" which are crucial to letting muscles heal and rebuild in between large amounts of effort, and without proper healing from micro tears, worse injuries will happen.
As a parent of a student athlete, it is often hard to find time to fit yet another thing into their's and your busy schedule but a monthly massage, at a minimum should be seen as a crucial part of helping them maintain their ability to compete. It is important that you find a therapist that does sports type massage and has a good knowledge of how the muscles are used for different sports so they can customize the session to fit the needs of your student athlete.
An hour a month can prevent months of downtime, rehab and pain from an injury, not to mention hospital bills. Do it for your student athlete and yourself. You'll both feel a lot better in the end.
(You can book targeted treatments with me starting at $55 for an hour. If you add hot stones, which helps me get to the root of the muscular issues even faster, the treatments start at $65. Book here.
Kat is a LMT in AZ with close to a half decade of experience. She likes to talk to ppl about their health, make them feel better and get them to realize they have so much power to control their own health. Snarky yet informative, that's Kat in a nutshell. She's also available for personalized, targeted therapeutic massages, please see the scheduling page if you live in the Phoenix AZ area.