Back to school: Common kids sports injuries

NORFOLK, Va. - Back to school for the kids means back to sports.

Many kids end up playing on their school’s sports team and on travel teams, which means they'll be tackling games as well as daily practices.

Are there ways to avoid injuries with all that game time?

Medical director of CHKD's sports medicine program Dr. Joel Brenner says the most common injuries he sees in kids come from overuse.

He says stress fractures, usually in the back, are common among all sports, both female and male.

The other common type of injury to come through the hospital doors: traumatic injuries.

"In female athletes, ACL tears in the knee are three to five times more frequent than in the male athletes. Then also we see concussions. We see that in all sports, but in males it's more common in football and in girls it's more common in soccer,” Brenner said.

Brenner recommends kids take at least one day off a week to rest.

He also says to remember that not all injuries are visible.

Brenner says it’s important to look for signs of mental burn-out.

If kids are burned out but still pushing themselves to play, that could lead to an injury.

“It's not just the physical injuries. One of the things we often forget is that it is also the mental injuries, such as burnout, where kids just get exhausted. They are fatigued, and they lose their desire to participate in sports or sometimes just physical activities in general," Brenner said.

The best way to avoid this according to Brenner is looking at your child’s schedule to make sure they are allowing enough time for sleep, healthy meals and downtime to rest.

He also talks about concussions, which can be very dangerous if they go untreated.

He says most kids won’t report a possible concussion because many children believe they have to pass out for a head injury to be considered a concussion.

If you are concerned, there are signs to look for.

“Even within the same person a concussion may act differently than their first. Some other things to look for are sensitivity to light or noise. So, going outside, that sunlight might really bother them or if they are in school the computer screen might bother them. Also, a lot of people have trouble sleeping," Brenner said.

CHKD offers a variety of programs including a sports performance academy where individuals and teams can work with their exercise specialist to condition and improve their skills.

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