By: Laura Wenger, PT, DPT, OCS
With recent efforts to curb childhood obesity, organized school sports have quickly become a popular way to encourage children to be more fit. Each year in the United States, over 38 million children participate in sports.1 Unfortunately, about one-third of these children will sustain an injury that is serious enough to sideline them from practice or games.1 One of the biggest questions in the world of physical therapy centers around how we can help children prevent these injuries. This is with the intention of encouraging children to continue enjoying their time participating in sports; not only to improve their fitness levels, but also to build their engagement with others in their community and facilitate learning through the problem-solving that sports participation often requires.
The organization Safe Kids Worldwide performed a comprehensive survey of children, coaches, and parents to learn more about the current culture of children’s sports injuries.2 In this survey of 1,000 athletes, 1,005 coaches, and 1,000 parents, they found that 1 in 4 athletes and coaches were not actively doing anything to prevent injuries.2 This is alarming, considering that being proactive is key when it comes to preventing sports injuries.2
If you are a parent, a coach, or an athlete that has a few minutes to spare, the survey can be accessed here.2 Knowledge is power when it comes to learning how to prevent sports-related injuries in children. As physical therapists, we do our best to acknowledge preventative measures when we see patients before their injury occurs, although we unfortunately don’t often get the chance to see them until it’s too late. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a physical therapist preventatively to learn more about conditioning, strength, and flexibility programs to move one step in the right direction toward thwarting any injury that will keep you or a child you know on the sidelines.
- Safe Kids Worldwide. We Work to Prevent Sports Injuries. 2015. Available at http://www.safekids.org/we-work-prevent-sports-injuries , Accessed August 12 2015.
- Safe Kids Worldwide. Changing the Culture of Youth Sports. 2015. Available at http://www.safekids.org/sites/default/files/documents/ResearchReports/skw_sports_study_2014_8-11-14.pdf, Accessed August 12, 2015.