Resilience, leadership skills, respect for others, self-esteem, patience and appreciation for differences in others - these are just a few things that we all hope to see develop in young children. While many of these skills can be developed in school and at home, a child’s participation in team sports can greatly enhance all of these areas - all while the child is playing and having fun! Being on a soccer team, playing tee-ball, basketball, lacrosse and a multitude of other sports can have long lasting benefits for your child, outside of the physical aspects of sports.
One of the most common questions that I am asked, as a school nurse, is how can sports related injuries, concussions in particular, be prevented? With every generation it seems that level of play and competition has increased, resulting in more injuries. Are
these injuries and concussions happening more frequently or have we become more adept at diagnosing them? With about 46.5 million children participating in sports in the United States, it is estimated that there are approximately 3.8 million concussions that occur every year; however only 1 out of 6 will be formally diagnosed and treated, so we clearly still have a long way to go.
It is common knowledge that frequent injuries and concussions occur in high risk sports, such as soccer and football, but they can occur anywhere and you may be surprised at how gentle of a hit to the head can result in a concussion and injury. You add to that the increase in our young athletes' level of play and skill set, growth spurts causing muscles and ligaments to stretch to the point of injury, and it makes sense why we seem to have an increase in sports related injuries and concussions. It may surprise you to know that approximately 60% of all injuries occur during practice and the most common injuries are muscle sprains and tears, growth plate fractures and heat related illness. Here are some things that can be done to prevent these injuries and concussions.
I know it is almost impossible to sit on the sideline and not instruct your child to run faster, shoot the ball, work harder or get in the right position. You have all of the right intentions; you want them to play well, score a basket and improve their game. You are just cheering for your son or daughter, right?