Off Your Game: Most Common Sports Injuries
The beginning of the school year brings the beginning of fall sports. Your child might be getting ready for football, gearing up for volleyball, or preparing for basketball. If your child plays sports, the chance of injury increases. Be prepared for bumps and bruises along the way and have an emergency center in mind just in case. These are the top sports injuries seen in the emergency room and steps to take if your child gets hurt.
Sprains and Strains
Sprains and strains are the most common diagnoses for sports injuries seen in the emergency room. A sprain is the stretching and/or tearing of a ligament, and a strain is an injury to the muscle or tendons. Symptoms include pain, swelling, bruising, muscle spasms, weakness, cramping, and inflammation. If the injury is severe or the soft tissues seem completely torn, visit an emergency center. For moderate sprains and strains, follow the RICE protocol:
- Rest: try not to use the injured area
- Ice: apply ice to the injury
- Compression: lightly wrap the injury
- Elevation: raise the injured area above heart level
Broken bones are common injuries, especially for children. There are different kinds of fractures and levels of severity. If your child falls or receives a blow, check for swelling, deformity, loss of function, bone protruding from skin, and pain that worsens with movement and pressure. If you think that the bone is broken, go to an emergency center.
Contusions and Abrasions
Contusions, or bruises, often happen when the body receives blows from blunt objects. Visit an emergency center if the bruising or swelling is severe or tissue damage is extensive. If your child gets a minor contusion, follow the RICE treatment mentioned above.
Abrasions occur when the skin is rubbed off, usually as it grazes with a rough surface. Visit an emergency center if the injury is severe. For minor abrasions, rinse with cold water and apply an antiseptic cream.
Concussions occur when the head receives a direct blow and the brain is jolted. Every 3 minutes, a child is treated in an emergency center for a concussion from playing sports. Most occur in children between the ages of 12 and 15 years. If your child receives a head injury, he or she may have a concussion if any of these symptoms are present:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Blurred vision
- Slurred speech
- Sensitivity to light or noise
- Balance problems
- Behavior change
- Ringing in the ears
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory Loss
If your child has any of these symptoms after a head injury, seek medical attention.
Stay safe and be prepared when your child plays sports. Keep a first aid kit on hand for minor injuries, and make sure your child takes care of his or her body by stretching properly, warming up, wearing the proper gear, staying hydrated, and eating healthy foods. Take note of your preferred nearest emergency center so you know where you will go if an emergency arises.