From a young age, we can recognize children’s affinity towards certain activities. Some enjoy the arts and others enjoy science. Then there are those that stand out for their athletic abilities, choosing sports from a young age and becoming young athletes. These children discover a sport they are passionate about and give themselves entirely to it. They generally establish big goals which usually include becoming part of a team in the big leagues of their chosen sport.
The devotion children have for sports is admirable. However, there is a big problem. The demands over young athletes are such that there is growing evidence of the immediate need to drastically change how these young athletes and their sports activities are managed. Children’s impressive physical abilities and their desire to improve their sport’s performance push them to do whatever it is necessary to become stellar athletes. However, this performance demand tends to be extremely high, and the consequences on their bodies are being left unchecked.
Child athletes are suffering serious injuries due to their dedication to sports.
But there’s a way to condition their bodies and prevent new injuries
Studies conducted by the Children‘s National Medical Center in Washington DC and Johns Hopkins University indicate that around 40 million children who are between 6 and 18 years old play a sport in the US. The same report explains that a third of the injuries children suffer in school are related to sports activities, and these injuries tend to be severe and require treatment from a nurse or doctor.
“I feel there is an epidemic issue when it comes to kids and the amount of involvement they have with sports. I love sports, I think kids should be playing sports; multiple sports! The problem is that these days we are treating kids like professional athletes. Nobody is recovering athletic children, and we are setting these kids up for a lifetime of issues”, said doctor Brandon Hochman of Med Plus Centers, who has many years of experience recovering young athletes.
Parents should pay special attention since most of the injuries happen in practice and not in actual games. Sports like soccer usually worry doctors quite a bit because children end up playing about 100 practice games, plus the competitive games. Plus, these children experience the stress of schoolwork, education, and other activities, then we can clearly conclude that they don’t have enough opportunities to rest and regain the strength they need to perform at their best. Chronic tiredness, plus the physical demands, and the injuries will show the urgent need for a change.
Many young athletes are needing emergency medical attention, rehabilitation time,
and even surgery at a young age due to extreme sports practice
The most popular injuries among young athletes are related to excessive use of a particular muscle or muscle group. This type of overuse injuries are classified in four stages: pain in the affected area after activity, pain during the activity, pain to the point of restraining the activity, and chronic pain to the point that rest is impossible. Close to 50 percent of the injuries in young athletes are related to the overuse of the affected areas.
“Here in MedPlus Center we often treat young patients, around 13 years old, with injuries related to baseball who require surgery better known as Tommy John. In this type of surgery, an impaired ligament in their arm is replaced with a tendon from another extremity,” said Dr. Hochman, who also recommends for parents and trainers to be aware and proactive in the care of these young athletes. This includes watching how much time they’re spending on the chosen sport, seeking help when there’s an injury, not allowing them to play unless they’re fully healed, go through all the necessary steps, and get them ready to play in their best form.