Prevent Sports Injury MN | Chiropractic Care MN

Summer hasn’t officially started yet, but for those of us with children, the real first day of summer is the last day of school. Most of our kids can look forward to at least three months without homework, classes or exams to worry about, and can devote their free time to sports, hobbies, hanging out with friends, or that wonderful youthful pastime of doing nothing at all.

Summer brings with it camps, swimming pools, little league, soccer, skateboards, bicycles, in-line skates, basketball, tennis, and all sorts of other physical activities.  And with the increase in physical activity, there is inevitably an increase in physical injuries.

According to the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons, the summer of 2004 was a banner year for warm weather sports related injuries that required some form of medical treatment.  These numbers all affected people under the age of 20.

Basketball topped the list with 1,018,619 injuries. This isn’t really surprising considering that you don’t need a lot of expensive equipment to play, and basketball courts are readily available.

Bicycling finished second with 820,789 injuries. This might seem surprising to adults who ride bicycles either for exercise or to simply get from place to place, but children often like to race or jump their bikes off of ramps or curbs.

Neck pain and low back pain are common complaints resulting from the cyclist’s upper body position with hyperextension of the neck and flexion of the lower back.

Baseball and softball caused 422,000 injuries, many of them leg injuries from sliding into bases.

Trampolines caused 248,000 injuries, which is not at all surprising. Those of you who are considering buying a trampoline for summer use should reconsider. All you have to do is think of it in terms of proportion. Think of the enormous number of kids playing basketball, baseball, or riding bikes, and then think of the comparatively fewer number of kids that have access to trampolines, and then consider that trampoline injuries ranked number four on the list.

  • In 1999, injuries to the leg/foot were reported most frequently, accounting for 40% of the total. Injuries to the arm/hand accounted for 29% of the total, head, face, and neck accounted for 20%, and shoulder/trunk were associated 10% of the total.
  • Approximately 4% of all trampoline emergency-room treated injuries result in hospitalization.
  • Most trips to the emergency room are the result of jumpers colliding with one another, falling on the trampoline springs or frame, falling or jumping off the trampoline, or attempting somersaults and stunts.

Trampoline Safety

Swimming accidents led to 114,899 injuries, which ranged from relatively minor scrapes to severe back and spinal trauma from diving into shallow water.

You wouldn’t think that volleyball would be on the list, but this seemingly contact-free sport resulted in 91,885 separate injuries that required medical treatment.

In-line skating was responsible for 66,101 separate injuries

Inline Skating Safety

And even something as harmless as tennis sent 17,838 kids to the hospital.

Skateboarding has become an extremely popular sport.  Helmets, wrist, elbow, and knee protectors need to be worn to prevent fractures.  Remember – the skateboard pros all wear helmets!

Skateboarding Safety_National Safety Council

The point of listing all of these statistics isn’t to send parents into a panic and lock their children in their rooms for the summer.  Accidents can and will happen to anyone, whether you’re playing touch football, jogging, or simply sitting on a park bench. But many of the injuries listed above were easily preventable. While it’s good for your children to be active, it’s especially important for them to be safe. With a few precautions, keeping them active and out of the emergency room is a pretty simple process.

Stretching: As hard as it may be to convince your child or teenager to do this, going through even some minor stretching before exercise or other strenuous activity can dramatically reduce the chance of injury. Pulled hamstrings and strained muscles are not only painful, but can keep your child from truly enjoying his or her vacation.

Wearing Protective Gear: Obtaining protective gear for kids isn’t very difficult. But making sure that they keep it on once they are out of your sight is the tricky part. Kids have a tendency to unload protective helmets, knee and elbow pads and mouth guards whenever they are playing unsupervised. While it’s impossible for parents to keep an eye on their kids all the time, you should make it clear that playing sports and being active does have risks to go along with the rewards.

Keep Your Kids Safe During The Summer!

Which Helmet For Which Activity

Use Safe and Reliable Equipment: Make sure that bicycles, in-line skates and skateboards are properly maintained. You should also make sure that any protective gear or sports equipment is safe. The Consumer Product Safety Commission website has a frequently updated list of recalls and safety warnings of products of all types, including sporting equipment and safety gear.

Make Sure That Your Kids Are Wearing the Right Footwear: Most of the injuries that took place on the basketball court were ankle sprains. Basketball is a sport that requires strong ankle support, and wearing shoes that don’t provide it dramatically increase your chances of an injury.

Make Sure the Playing Field is Safe: It isn’t uncommon to find rocks, holes, sharp sticks or broken glass on an area where children play. Taking three minutes to make sure that the playing surface is clean and free of dangers can be the difference between a good time and a trip between the emergency room.

SPORTS HYDRATION - Water-why, when, and how much young athletes need

Drink Plenty of Fluids: Heatstroke and heat exhaustion are fairly common occurrences during the hot summer months, and they are also the most easily preventable. Avoiding heat-based injuries is simply a matter of keeping hydrated. So make sure that your kids drink plenty of water.

The question is then: How much water is enough?

Download this sports hydration infographic to see the answers (download the PDF version)

In terms of quantity, its best to break it down by gulps. Generally speaking, a young child who weighs around 90 pounds should drink about 10 gulps of water every 20 minutes when playing sports. Older kids or teens weighing around 130 pounds should drink about 20 gulps of water during that same time frame.

Make Sure That Your Kids Are Prepared: Make absolutely sure that your kids both know the number for the police or an ambulance and have the means to call them. Cellular phone companies have several plans for parents who are concerned about children and cell phones, and making sure that your children have the ability to stay in touch is an important way to keep them safe.

Although accidents are an inevitable occurrence in anyone’s life, many sports injuries are easily preventable. Making sure that you follow these guidelines is an easy way to help guard against them.

Professional, amateur and weekend athletes seek out Sports Chiropractic Care for many reasons:

  • Quicker recovery after training/games
  • Prevention of injury
  • Peak performance
  • Better balance

Chiropractic The Athlete’s Choice for Sports Care

The sports chiropractor can enhance an athlete’s recovery and prevent future injury. In the competitive sports world, athletes realize that if spinal or extremity problems exist, their performance will be compromised. The goal for each patient is to get him/her in peak performance to produce a winning result.

Summertime means activities and fun under the sun!  But even if we love to spend time outdoors in the sun, we must all be careful not to let a sports or personal injury spoil the day.

Enjoy your Summer!   And remember… Life IS a contact sport! Play Safe and Enjoy your Summer!