Playing Springtime sports—baseball, softball, golf, gymnastics, swimming, tennis and others—is one of the joys of childhood. It’s also a great way to keep children active. It gives children and parents a chance to socialize and make friends, and it teaches good values and life lessons.
Unfortunately, these sports also produce injuries. And while you can’t avoid injuries altogether, you can be aware of what could happen and what to do if an injury does occur. Here are some common springtime sports injuries that every parent should be aware of.
1. ACL injuries
ACL injury—one of the most common in sports—involves damage to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), which is in the knee. The ACL, along with three other ligaments, prevent the knee from wobbling or giving out when you move.
In middle school through college students, ACL injuries are more common in girls than boys; young women actually are 2–8 times more likely to tear their ACLs than boys of the same age, although doctors aren’t sure why.
Injuries occur when the knee is forced into an unnatural position, causing the ACL and other ligaments to partially or fully tear. Movements that can cause injuries include suddenly stopping or changing direction, twisting the knee, and bending the knee sideways—in other words, ACL injuries can happen in most Springtime sports!
If you suspect your child has torn his ACL or another ligament, your local urgent care center should be able to offer fast, effective diagnosis and treatment with no appointment.
Concussions have been getting more press lately—which is a good thing, because they can be a serious problem.
A concussion can happen when there is forceful contact with the head or body. Symptoms can include confusion, headache, blurry vision, sensitivity to light and sound, feeling sluggish or groggy, upset stomach, and memory problems. Sometimes the symptoms aren’t obvious and immediate. Make sure to report a suspected concussion to a coach or athletic trainer. It’s important that a concussion be identified early and carefully evaluated before a child starts playing again.
3. Strains and sprains
A strain is a muscle that has been stretched too far. It’s possible for kids to strain muscles in their backs, neck or legs. A strain can start hurting immediately or several hours later. It will be tender, sore, and it may swell or bruise.
Sprains happen when a ligament has been overstretched, leading to a mild sprain, or torn, which is a severe sprain. A sprain will probably start to hurt immediately. There will probably be swelling and bruising, and it may be difficult to move the injured part or walk. Your child may think he or she has broken something.
If you think your child has suffered a strain or a sprain, seek treatment at a qualified medical facility or urgent care center. The sooner your child begins treatment for the injury, the easier the healing process will be.
Prevention and treatment
While you can’t completely avoid your child from suffering a Springtime sports injury, you can take precautions to minimize the chances of one happening. Make sure your child has safety equipment (such as a helmet and knee pads), and that he or she adequately warms up and cools down before games and practices. By knowing what to look for, and how to react if an injury does occur, you’ll be better prepared for a healthy and exciting sports season.