YOUNG ATHLETES SPORTS ACTIVITIES CAN RESULT IN INJURIES,
SOME MINOR, SOME SERIOUS AND SOME RESULTING IN LIFELONG
Reasons for Concern
Young athletes are not merely small adults. Their bones,
muscles, tendons, and ligaments are still growing, which
makes them more susceptible to injury.
plates - the areas of developing cartilage where bone
growth occurs in youngsters - are weaker than the nearby
ligaments and tendons. What is often a bruise or sprain
in an adult can be a potentially serious growth plate
injury in a young athlete.
injuries can be prevented if young people
follow a regular conditioning program with
incorporated exercises designed specifically
for their chosen sport".
Injuries among young athletes fall into two basic categories:
Both types include injuries to the soft tissues (muscles
and ligaments) and bones.
Acute injuries are caused by a sudden trauma. Common
acute injuries among young athletes include contusions
(bruises), sprains (a partial or complete tear of a
ligament), strains (a partial or complete tear of a
muscle or tendon) and fractures. But not all injuries
are caused by a single, sudden twist, fall, or collision.
A series of small injuries to immature bodies can cause
minor fractures, minimal muscle tears, or progressive
bone deformities, known as overuse injuries.
Other common overuse injuries occur in the heels and
knees with tears in the tissue where tendons attach
to the leg bone or the heel bone.
Impact sports have inherent dangers that put young athletes
at special risk for severe injuries. Even with rigorous
training and proper safety equipment, youngsters are
at risk for severe injuries to the neck, spinal cord,
and growth plates. However, following the rules of the
game and using proper equipment can decrease these risks.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Young people often experience some discomfort with athletic
activity. Their bones and muscles are growing, and their
level of physical activity may increase with a sudden,
intense interest in sports, so some aches and pains
can be expected. Still, their complaints always deserve
careful attention. Some injuries, if left untreated,
can cause permanent damage and interfere with proper
Whether an injury is acute or due to overuse, a young
person who develops a symptom that persists or that
affects his or her athletic performance should be examined
by a Doctor who then may refer them to a specialist.
should never be allowed or expected to "work through
Prompt treatment can often prevent a minor injury from
becoming worse or causing permanent damage.
The basic treatment for many simple injuries is often
"R.I.C.E."-Rest Ice Compression Elevation.
Treatment for a young person with any significant injury
will usually involve specific recommendations for temporary
or permanent adjustment in athletic activity.
Depending on the injury's severity, treatment may range
from simple observation with minor changes in athletic
level to a recommendation that the athletic activity
be discontinued. Some combination of physical therapy,
strengthening exercises, and bracing may also be prescribed.
Guidelines for Preventing Sports Injuries
in proper physical condition
appropriate protective gear
continuing when very tired or in pain
athletes need proper training for sports
They should be encouraged to train for the sport
rather than expecting the sport itself to get them into
Many injuries can be prevented if young people follow
a regular conditioning program with incorporated exercises
designed specifically for their chosen sport.
A well-structured, closely supervised weight-training
regimen may modestly help youngsters prepare for athletic
A young athlete striving to meet the unrealistic expectations
of others may ignore the warning signs of injury and
continue to train with pain.
think for many people it has to be more personal...
everybody's moving... I'm really happy for them...
but too quickly, too fast, too easy, too much show...