The rate of injuries being sustained by young athletes has been increasing steadily over the years and this has become a cause of concern not just for the parents but also for the health and school authorities. Considered as young athletes in this case are those between the ages of 8 and 18 years and who engage in sports activities.
To illustrate this point, a team of researchers from the Loyola University Medical Center and the Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago conducted a survey involving young athletes who came into the medical facilities mentioned for physicals or consultations. From 2010 to 2013, a total of 1,200 athletes were recorded by the research team to have made such visits. Of this number, sports injuries were noted in 843 cases or slightly over 70 percent.
Injuries Sustained by Young Athletes
Knee injuries were the most common, accounting for over 31 percent. This was followed by ankle injuries at 16 percent. Closely following were injuries to the lower back, recorded to be suffered by roughly 15 percent. Head injuries and concussion came in at fourth at 13.4 percent. Rounding up the top five were shoulder injuries, which were reported by 10.7 percent of the group. Injuries to the hip came in at sixth at 6.4 percent while the remaining 7.3 percent were injuries to other parts of the body.
Immediate and Long-term Impact
Based on their findings, it was learned that many of these injuries were serious enough that these young men and women had to be sidelined for one month to half a year. The severity of these injuries may put these athletes at risk of assorted problems in the future, according to Dr. Neeru Jayanthi, the lead researcher. As an example, those who suffered lower back injuries may be exposed to complications of stress fractures such as spondyloysis and spondylolisthesis which they may have to endure as they grow older.
Increased Risk Due to Intensive Training
One medical practitioner identified intensive training as the greatest risk factor for these sports injuries. It was found that these developing athletes spent an average of nearly 13 hours per week practicing their game. This extensive time in the field increases the risk of getting an injury, especially if performed without the necessary pre-game preparations and using the wrong techniques.
The findings of this study were also a confirmation of previous research works that made a conclusion that specializing in a single sport may increase the risk of overall injury. This prompted the lead author to issue a caution about intense specialization in one sport before and during adolescence.
Importance of Prevention and Treatment
While not entirely discouraging the participation in sports, the researchers stressed that preventive measures should be observed always. In cases when injuries occur, these must be immediately addressed in order to minimize the risks. There are now numerous professionals and establishments that focus on sports prevention and injury treatment, where these young athletes can turn to. By seeing these experts, these developing athletes will be offered tips and suggestions in cutting down possibilities of injuries.