Is Your Young Athlete at Risk?
Young athletes are at risk of injury. A recent study looked at the specific factors that could be contributing to levels of risk. The study (not yet published) , presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition in Orlando, Florida, involved 1206 athletes between the ages of 8 -18. Participants completed an extensive questionnaire and then researchers compiled the data.
Finding showed that of the 1206 participants, 837 had sustained an injury, and 859 “unique injuries” were described. Injured athletes were in the older group of participants (over age 14), and seemed to occur more often in organized play sports, gym-based sports, and free play. Specializing in one particular sport also raised risk of injury. Most common sites of injury included the knee, ankle, and lower back.
Monitoring the total hours per week being devoted to a single sport and having your child cross train can help to reduce injury. Taking care of an injury immediately and allowing for proper rest and rehabilitation can also help. Also consider activities that can enhance performance, but that use other muscles and body parts.
For example, young athletes who play baseball can benefit from Tae Kwan Do, which emphasizes core training and “twisting” at the waist as you perform kicks and other moves. It also helps with centering balance. This discipline can help improve and enhance a young batter’s swing, without overuse of the arms and shoulder muscles, typically used in traditional training.