What You Need to Know About Preventing Children’s Sports Injuries

We at iAMPT are passionate about preventing and healing injuries in young athletes. Young people are participating and specializing in sports at earlier ages and U.S. sports-related injuries have increased as a result. 

A physical therapist can help to reduce and prevent sports injuries from occurring through education and proper training.  As young athletes are at high risk for overuse and traumatic injuries, regular appointments with a  physical therapist will allow for early detection of injuries and preventative care in order to keep them performing well and having fun. 

In a recent study conducted by ATI Physical Therapy, a well-monitored preseason baseball training program showed improvement in arm flexibility and strength for high school pitchers which contributed to a diminished risk of arm injury. In addition, pitchers who had previous injuries and participated in the preseason training program were four times less likely to suffer an injury than those in the general arm care program. 

Emergency room statistics show young athletes visit hospital ERs for a sports-related injury more than a million times each year. Additional research demonstrates that nearly four in ten emergency room visits for children aged 4-15 years old are sports related. 

Some statistics to consider:

  • Nearly 75 percent of sports-related injuries in youth or teen athletics were linked to four sports: football, soccer, baseball and basketball.
  • Concussion rates doubled among U.S. high school athletes between 2005 and 2012; only a fraction of which can be tied to increased awareness for concussion prevention and identification.
  • In 2015, research found that there were more Tommy John surgeries for teens aged 15-19 than any other group based on an analysis of 790 patients who underwent the surgery between 2007-2011. The rate of the surgery in the same age group has been increasing more than 9 percent each year.  
  • A report this year by the sports medicine department at Loyola University of Chicago found that “kids are twice as likely to get hurt if they play just one sport as those who play multiple sports.”
  • There has been a five-fold increase since 2000 in the number of serious elbow and shoulder injuries among youth baseball and softball players, according to the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine.
  • This stems from his experience with young athletes who not only sustain injuries but also endure what Jensen called emotional burnout. Such kids dedicate themselves to one sport starting at age 9 or 10, reach their junior or senior year of high school – and then don’t want to play anymore.

A few more stats from www.stopsportsinjuries.org and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: 

  • 30 million children and adolescents participate in youth sports in the United States
  • 5 million Children under age 14 who receive medical treatment for sports injuries each year
  • 2 million Injuries sustained annually by U.S. high school athletes
  • 500,000 Annual doctor visits by U.S. high school athletes
  • 30,000S. high school athletes hospitalized each year
  • 50 Percentage of all sports injuries to middle school and high school students attributed to overuse
  • 45 Percentage of players ages 13 and 14 who will have arm pain during a single youth baseball season
  • 40 Percentage of all sports-related injuries (treated in hospitals) sustained by children ages 5 to 14

Discussing the high-rate of sports injuries in young athletes and prevention methods is important for parents, kids, and coaches to make good decisions about improving at a sport, enjoying the sport, and keeping healthy boundaries.

A Physical Therapist is a great resource for your family if you have further questions! We can help you to understand the risks/benefits of certain sports, assess for injury risk, and provide a program to help your child develop to their full potential. 

Click here to schedule a free sample session for your son or daughter with Dr. Jessica Wiley.