You never really know the risks of a particular sport until your child starts playing. As parents we’re usually prepared for scrapes or bruises…but not as ready for concussions, broken bones or staph infections.
That’s why we’ve compiled this list of the more common types of sports injuries.
We’re not doctors….and we haven’t seen it all. We’ve actually been very, very fortunate. Our daughter plays multiple sports, and we do think that this has allowed her body to get stronger as it takes breaks from some sports in favor of playing others. There’s a lot of studies that say that playing multiple sports helps protect against injuries. But kids do get hurt…here are some of the more frequent:
BROKEN BONES & FRACTURES
Your doctor will give you instructions about how to manage your child’s injury. One thing to keep in mind is that the first 48 hours are often the worst. For that reason, it’s recommended that the broken bone is raised and iced. How long til it’s healed? That depends on the break, but refer to the graphic below for guidelines from CastCoverz:
Kids’ bones can be strengthened through diet and exercise. We’ve all heard that milk helps deliver calcium, but what if your kid doesn’t like milk? Here are some other calcium-rich foods to try:
Cereals: Total Raisin Bran
Vegetarian options: Broccoli, Edamame, Spinach (cooked), Tofu (fortified with calcium sulfate),
Fish: Canned salmon, or farm raised salmon
Legumes: Almonds, Sunflower seeds, white beans
Any type of eye injury must be seen by a Doctor ASAP! We’re not even going to list eye injuries because we feel so strongly about getting a medical diagnosis. If you want to know which sports have the most eye injuries, check out the bottom of this post for our list. While you’re there, learn more about athletic goggles, which aren’t only for kids that wear glasses.
Concussions occur in other sports besides football. In fact, for girls there is a connection between concussions and playing soccer. The theory is that girls’ necks are not as strong as boys, so heading the ball causes a great deal of stress. Find out more about concussions and youth sports here.
For a great article that explains in more detail the most common neck injuries, check out this post.
- Diving: 1,563 males, 135 females = 1,698
- Bicycling: 312 males, 35 females = 347
- All Terrain-Vehicle/All Terrain-Cycle (ATV/ATC): 133 males, 20 females = 153
- Football: 136 males = 136
- Snow Skiing: 118 males, 14 females = 132
- Horseback Riding: 61 males, 64 females = 125
- Winter Sports: 98 males, 26 females = 124
- Other Sports: 85 males, 18 females = 103
- Surfing (including body surfing): 101 males, 2 females = 103
- Wrestling: 82 males, 2 females = 84
- Trampoline: 53 males, 8 females = 61
- Gymnastics: 31 males, 18 females = 49
- Snowmobiles: 37 males, 5 females = 42
- Field Sports: 37 males, 1 female = 38
- Hang Gliding: 31 males, 2 females = 33
- An estimated 7.6 percent of all SCIs are related to sports.
- Diving accidents rank as the fourth leading cause of SCI in males and fifth leading cause in females. All sports combined follow the exact same male/female incidence rates.
- Of the 26,820 reported SCIs, a combined total of 2,801 were sports-related: Of these, 2,510 or 90 percent were in males, 70 percent were in people ages 16-30, 15 percent in people ages 31-45, and 7 percent in children ages 15 and younger.
- More than 86 percent of all sports-related SCIs resulted in tetraplegia.
- Ages 0-15: 23.9 percent
- Ages 16-30: 14.4 percent
- Ages 31+: 13.5 percent
Source: The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham, NSCISC 2009 Annual Statistical Report and Facts at a Glance, February 2010.
You don’t really think of a nail injury until you get one. “Ew, I broke a nail” has been so ingrained in our culture as a girlie thing that doesn’t deserve any attention.
Let me tell you — nail injuries are no joke!
Like, they HURT. A LOT!
A doctor should be consulted whenever a fingernail or toenail is separated from its bed. She or he will advise if the nail should be sewn back in order to encourage reattachment or not. If the nail remains, then it should be covered with an antiseptic such as Neosporin and then wrapped so that it remains safe from dirt and germs.
If on the toe, this injury can be excruciating. So don’t expect your child to get back on the field or court where pressure from a shoe can cause quite a bit of discomfort. For sports like swimming or gymnastics, there may be less pressure on the foot although diving and landing maybe difficult.
Many skin infections can be avoided by practicing good hygiene. A great set of guidelines for athletes is listed on this website from New York State.
HERPES VIRUS (aka “Mat Herpes”)
I was shocked to learn that the Herpes Virus is commonly spread amongst wrestlers due to the close physical contact. Be sure to have your child shower with soap after wrestling (or really any sport). If your child has a sore, they should not play until it’s gone due to the fact that it’s highly contagious! That’s about 10-14 days!
Impetigo recently visited us through a sore from a beach scrape. It’s a relatively fast moving bacteria that is highly contagious and kinda gross to see. If your child has scrapes or oozy scabs that seem to be popping up, they might have impetigo. Though it’s commonly found in young children and on the face, it can also present in older kids on other parts of the body.
It’s highly contagious, so your child should only return to school or play after they have been cleared by a Doctor. Be sure to wash bedding, towels, etc., as well.
ECZEMA & PSORIASIS
Eczema and Psoriasis aren’t skin injuries, but both conditions may become worse after playing sports. This is due to the nature of sports — exertion results in sweat, sweat can irritate skin disorders. Whenever possible, be sure to have your child take a tepid shower or bath and gently wash the area and then allow to air dry before applying moisturizer or medicine.
If your child’s skin condition worsens or open wounds develop, be sure to check with a Doctor before utilizing shared equipment such as a helmet or pads, as a staph infection may occur.
STAPH INFECTIONS* can be very serious!
Staph infections are on the rise and have become increasingly resistant to antibiotics. Athletes are more likely to get a staph infection because they are often in contact situations or use shared equipment. According to Elizabeth Quinn’s article in Verywell.com, a staph infection shows as a red, swollen, and painful area on the skin that is often warm to the touch. As the infection becomes more serious, symptoms include:
- A skin abscess
- Drainage of pus or other fluids from the site
- Muscle aches
If your child has a staph infection, they should NOT return to play and your coach and school should be notified.
Fortunately, there are some preventive measures your child can take. The old adage, “cleanliness is next to godliness” definitely helps ward off infection. One thing that kids don’t necessarily think about is soft goods and equipment. As scrapes sometimes occur, it’s important to cover them.
Kids get hurt, whether it’s playing sports or something else. Some of the most popular include broken bones, injuries to the neck and skin issues. We can’t list all of the different types of sports injuries but this serves as a good reference. Of course, be sure to check with your doctor before returning to play.
Did we miss another injury that you’ve seen frequently occur? Drop us a line in the comments below and we’ll be sure to add it.