Sports Injuries in Children

Sports Injuries in Children

There has been an alarming rise in injuries in children involved in sports especially in pre-adolescents and adolescents age group. There are many reasons to this, but the major reason is early specialization in a single sport. Parents and coaches believe that focusing on a single sport from an early age, will eventually make better athletes! This is not true. Evidence from numerous studies shows a direct relationship between early sports specialization and development of overuse injuries in these children. This is a very disturbing trend as more than half of all such injuries are preventable. Early sports specialization also affects child’s mental health and cause over-dependence, social isolation, depression, burn-out and  
are more likely to quit sports altogether before they play professional or elite sports. On the other hand, studies show that, children involved in multiple sports have better physical, psychological and social development.

Overuse injuries in these children also occur either due to an increased load i.e. more number of hours of rigorous sports practice, or due to lack or rest or fatigue or due to a relative energy (nutritional) deficiency. Coaches and parents must know ‘how much’ load is ‘too much’. They should not force the child to play or practice when injured. Many kids with pain still play and do not report it because of pressure from parents and coaches or peers. Too many competitions or improper scheduling of matches will result in lack of rest and sleep and eventually cause muscle fatigue, which subsequently is a risk factor for overuse injuries. Nutritional deficiencies cause energy insufficiency, which disrupts important body functions and often result in low performance, menstrual irregularities and stress fractures.

Other causes of injuries in children are ill-fitting equipment, training errors, muscle imbalance, and failure to recognition injuries in the early stages. Prevention of injuries in this age group is paramount as; any injury in children has potential long term consequences like functional disability, financial impact and permanent joint damage due to arthritis. These children therefore need special care and specific training on injury prevention. Parents and coaches must be educated to avoid specialization in a single sport at earlier ages. Children should be encouraged to take part in multiple sports and trained to strengthen core muscles, and land, jump, pivot in a correct way to prevent the epidemic of injuries in them.

Dr. Ajay Singh Thakur
Consultant Sports Medicine & Arthroscopy Surgeon
Star Hospitals

For Appointments, Call: 040-44 77 77 00