Kids And Sporting Injuries – 7 Things Parents Can Do
Exploring and experimenting with different sports can create fantastic memories for children. It helps them to burn off their exuberant physical energy, as well as gain confidence and social skills.
Nevertheless, there is a worrying increase in the number of serious injuries sustained by children playing sport. Medicare data cited in an ABC article showed that number of kids undergoing Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) reconstructions has tripled over the past 15 years. Many of these ACL injuries in children arose out of them playing high risk sports like netball, Australian rules football and soccer.
Being a parent is challenging at the best of times. On the one hand you want to swaddle them in cotton wool, and on the other hand you also want to give them free rein to explore their physical capabilities. As a parent, the best way to do this is to empower yourself with knowledge.
The top ten
Just for your reference, here are the most high risks sports in Australia for sporting injuries, ranked from highest (1) to lower (10).
- Australian rules football
- Wheeled motor sports
- Water sports
- Roller sports
- Equestrian activities
Source: The Guardian
Try many sports, not just one
While children are still growing, they are developing motor skills in many different ways. By focusing on one particular activity too early in their lives, your children could develop injuries that relate to repetitive stress and overuse of particular muscle groups.
Instead, get them to try a broad variety of physical activities like dance, performance theatre, different types of sports and more gentle, calming exercises like yoga for strengthening and balancing their growing bodies. Over time, they will develop a preference for a particular sport and want to continue this into their teens. To ensure they don’t burn out and to help prevent injury, give them at least three months off this sport per year.
Downtime and recovery is important
People of all ages and stages of life will injure themselves when they don’t eat right, stay hydrated or get enough sleep. Even though sport and physical exercise is a key part of a healthy life, so too is recovering and resting.
If your sporty kids want to spend the entire weekend at a netball or football tournament, then make sure they get a hearty and nutritious lunch, plenty of water and plenty of sleep the night before.
Warming up is key
Starting a sporting activity without warming up is a recipe for disaster at any age. Before they hit the pitch or the court, make sure your children do at least 10-15 minutes of dynamic warm-ups. YouTube has countless great warm-up videos which are a great place to get inspiration. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDfvWrGUkC8
Are we having fun yet?
Ensure that your child is enjoying the sport in question. Each week if they drag their feet and look all mopey at the prospect of going to football or netball training, then question them about why. In order for them to get the benefit of the sport, they need to enjoy it and want to continue, otherwise it’s just a chore.
Choose a bike helmet that meets Australian safety standards
If your child’s chosen sport is BMX racing, skateboarding or cycling then ensure they have the right protective gear. In Australia, all bike riders are legally required to wear a helmet. Although there is no law for skateboarding and rollerblading, it’s still a good idea. That’s because research shows that wearing a helmet can lower the risk of head injury by 69% and brain injury by up to 74%. When you buy a helmet for your child or yourself, ensure that it meets the Australian Safety Standards (AS/NZS2063) and that it is right size and fit. If you buy one online, it may not meet the Australian safety standard.
Tread carefully with equestrian sports
Horses are beautiful there’s no doubt about that. But My Little Pony and your daughter’s dreams aside, you should consider that there are many risks and variables to equestrian sports. That means you should plan wisely for this sport and choose an experienced horse trainer and a horse with a calm temperament. Ensure that your child has access to high quality gear and that your child gets adequate training on riding before jumping in the saddle. There is a lot to consider. Although horse-riding can become a life-long passion. Speak to any horsey person and they will tell you that it’s worth it.
Choose the right mouthguard
In one Queensland study, over 50% of young rugby players had sustained an injury to the face or teeth while playing sport. It’s really important to use a mouthguard when playing sports like rugby, Aussie rules, soccer and boxing. This is because a custom-fitted mouthguard will absorb the impact of a blow to the face more evenly and reduce the risk of injury to the mouth or jaw. The Australian Dental Association says that self-fitted, boil and bite mouthguards don’t provide adequate protection. So you’re better off getting a custom-made mouthguard that’s designed to fit in your child’s mouth more comfortably.
Maroubra Road Physiotherapy strives to keep everyone in Maroubra healthy, active and moving. The best medicine is preventative and educational. So make sure you like, share and subscribe to this blog to stay in the know about the best ways to look after your and your family’s health. Book an appointment today!