YOUNG CHIL­DREN: IN­JURIES IN CON­TACT SPORTS

How to pre­vent & treat in­juries in young chil­dren play­ing con­tact sports

Great Health Guide - - CONTENTS - Words Mar­garita Gure­vich De­sign Olek­san­dra Zuieva

Mar­garita Gure­vich

Ex­er­cise and sport pro­vide a vast amount of ben­e­fit to our phys­i­cal and men­tal health. Nat­u­rally, there is the risk of in­jury when par­tic­i­pat­ing in sports. In this ar­ti­cle, we will fo­cus on sev­eral dif­fer­ent types of in­juries and ill­nesses which can be sus­tained dur­ing sport par­tic­i­pa­tion, with par­tic­u­lar fo­cus on how this may af­fect young chil­dren.

1. SPRAINS AND STRAINS:

Sprains re­fer to an in­jury of one or more lig­a­ments (the tough, flex­i­ble tis­sues which con­nect two bones). Strains re­fer to an in­jury of the mus­cle (the tis­sue which con­tracts, al­low­ing for move­ment) or ten­don (the strong tis­sue which con­nects mus­cle to bone).

As with adults, chil­dren can experience sprains and strains to vary­ing de­grees, re­sult­ing in slight to se­vere pain and rang­ing from sev­eral days to sev­eral months off sport.

For chil­dren, an ap­pro­pri­ate first re­sponse is to uti­lize the RICER pro­to­col:

Rest: cease ex­er­cise on the af­fected area.

Ice: ap­ply ice (best to wrap in a towel) for up to 20 min­utes at a time on the af­fected area.

Com­press: some ar­eas may not be ap­pro­pri­ate for this, how­ever, a typ­i­cal an­kle sprain for ex­am­ple can be firmly wrapped to re­duce swelling around the joint.

El­e­vate: try to keep the af­fected area above the level of the heart – this means that if the knee has been in­jured, lay the child down and prop a pil­low un­der the af­fected leg so that grav­ity can as­sist in drain­ing blood away from the af­fected region.

Re­fer­ral: if the in­jury ap­pears im­me­di­ately se­vere, or there is no im­prove­ment in sev­eral days, re­fer to a health­care pro­fes­sional for eval­u­a­tion.

2. CON­CUS­SION:

Con­cus­sion refers to an in­jury of the brain and is typ­i­cally sus­tained when there is a high im­pact to the head, ei­ther against an op­pos­ing player, an ob­ject or the ground. As we know, our brain is pro­tected by the skull and since chil­dren have weaker bones then adults, they are at higher risk of con­cus­sion from a head col­li­sion. Ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a con­cus­sion on more than one oc­ca­sion can be even more dan­ger­ous.

Typ­i­cal signs of con­cus­sion in­clude headache, loss of con­scious­ness (pro­longed or mo­men­tary), con­fu­sion, mem­ory loss, dizzi­ness, ring­ing in the ears, nau­sea or vom­it­ing.

3. HEAT-RE­LATED ILL­NESS:

Any­one can experience heat-re­lated ill­ness, but young chil­dren and el­derly are at higher risk due to their less ef­fi­cient abil­ity to reg­u­late body tem­per­a­ture. De­hy­dra­tion, heat ex­haus­tion and heat stroke are the three typ­i­cal lev­els of heat-re­lated ill­ness, with the lat­ter be­ing the worst.

Signs of heat ex­haus­tion in­clude nau­sea,

EX­PE­RI­ENC­ING A CON­CUS­SION ON MORE THAN ONE OC­CA­SION CAN BE EVEN MORE DAN­GER­OUS.

weak­ness, moist skin, heavy breath­ing and di­lated pupils.

In or­der to re­duce the risk of such ill­ness oc­cur­ring, it’s im­por­tant that chil­dren are well hy­drated, reg­u­lar breaks are taken be­tween bouts of ex­er­cise, ex­er­cise is un­der­taken in cool en­vi­ron­ments where pos­si­ble and that sun-pro­tec­tive gear, such as sun­screen and a hat, is uti­lized.

4. REPET­I­TIVE STRAIN IN­JURIES:

Chil­dren may experience in­juries if they are un­der­tak­ing ex­er­cise which is

GROW­ING CHIL­DREN & ADO­LES­CENTS HAVE BONES WHICH ARE NOT FULLY DE­VEL­OPED.

highly repet­i­tive in na­ture. There­fore, it is ad­vised that chil­dren par­tic­i­pate in a va­ri­ety of ex­er­cises, which in­volve dif­fer­ent move­ments and em­pha­sise var­i­ous body parts. A child who only par­tic­i­pates in one sport and does so for a long du­ra­tion with a high level of fre­quency, may be at higher risk of sus­tain­ing a repet­i­tive in­jury.

5. GROWTH PLATE IN­JURIES:

Grow­ing chil­dren and ado­les­cents have bones which are not fully de­vel­oped. In their long bones, such as those of the hands, arms, feet and legs, growth plates are pre­sent at ei­ther end of the bone. While frac­tures (breaks in the bone) are com­mon in chil­dren and typ­i­cally heal well, dam­age to the growth plates can re­sult in al­tered growth of the bone and there­fore func­tional lim­i­ta­tions as they grow up. The good news is that a lot of these in­juries can be pre­vented if nec­es­sary pre­cau­tions are taken. If, how­ever, if an in­jury is sus­tained, it’s im­por­tant to see a trained health­care pro­fes­sional. Phys­io­ther­a­pists who spe­cialise in sports in­juries can help with ac­cel­er­at­ing the re­cov­ery process and get­ting the child back to sport quicker. Phys­io­ther­apy can also help with in­jury pre­ven­tion by build­ing up the strength of the rel­e­vant mus­cles, par­tic­u­larly the core mus­cles, mak­ing sure that the sports technique is cor­rect and im­prov­ing bal­ance and co­or­di­na­tion. A very ef­fec­tive method is Clin­i­cal Pi­lates run by trained phys­io­ther­a­pists.

Mar­garita Gure­vich is Se­nior Phys­io­ther­a­pist at Health Point Phys­io­ther­apy. B. Phty de­gree at La Trobe Univer­sity & Diploma of SCENAR Ther­apy, Moscow SCENAR Cen­tre. Mar­garita ex­ten­sively uses Clin­i­cal Pi­lates, SCENAR

ther­apy, Real Time Ul­tra­sound & McKen­zie treat­ment. She spe­cialises in Sports In­juries, Women’s Health (in­clud­ing in­con­ti­nence) and gas­troin­testi­nal is­sues.

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