Disclosure :: This post is sponsored by Ochsner Lafayette General and written by Dr. Otis R. Drew.
Fall Into Safe Sports Fun: Common Sports Injuries In Your Kids
Fall sports are an integral part of the middle and high school experiences. They help young students gain confidence, build character and cultivate self-discipline. But along with hard-fought victories, comes a fairly common fall sports flaw – injuries. Some of the most common include sprains and strains, fractures, concussions and heat-related injuries.
Sprains and Strains
Sprains and strains are easily confused – they’re almost the same word. However, a sprain injury involves the tissue that connects bones together. And a strain involves injury to a muscle or the tissue that attaches the muscle to the bone. In the moment, athletes could hear a “popping” sound when the injury occurs. After, they could see some bruising and swelling along with some accompanying pain.
These types of injuries need time to heal. For the first 24 hours, rest and apply an icepack or cold compress wrapped in a wet cloth for 15 minutes every two hours, then for 15 minutes every four hours for 24 hours after. Elevate the injured part.
With fractures, the bone called the growth plate is the most likely to be injured. They are where cartilage tissue is near the end of a long bone. And for teens and pre-teens these plates are still developing making them pliable and susceptible to injury. There are different types of fractures including those caused by overuse or stress.
Fractures need to be seen and treated by an orthopedic surgeon or sports medicine specialist because anything that disturbs the growth plates natural development can cause bone deformity.
Head Injuries: Concussions
A concussion is defined as a trauma-induced alteration in mental status that may or may not involve loss of consciousness. They can be caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head and symptoms can appear immediately (a headache or dizziness) or within the first week of injury (irritability or sleep issues).
If an athlete thinks they may have a concussion, they should let a coach, or another adult know immediately. They should be seen by a sports medicine specialist as soon as possible. Concussions will heal on their own with plenty of rest.
Common heat-related injuries include heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat cramps tend to happen later in the sports activity when muscles are tired, and fluid and electrolyte imbalances are increased. Intense pain in muscles after longer activity is usually a sign. Individuals should replace fluids and electrolytes as soon as possible.
Heat exhaustion occurs when someone continues his/her activity even after they begin to feel ill effects of heat, like dehydration for example. The body struggles to keep up with demands and ultimately leads to exhaustion. Along with dehydration, other signs of heat exhaustion could include dizziness, pale skin, headache, nausea or cramps. To remedy, individuals should be moved to shaded area and cooled with legs above heart level. Slowly drink water or a sports drink to rehydrate and replace electrolytes. If fluids can’t be kept down due to vomiting, bring the individual to the hospital as IV fluids may be needed.
Heat stroke is a severe heat illness that happens when the body creates more heat than it can release due to exercising in the heat. This causes a rapid increase in core body temperature and can lead to disability or even death if left untreated. Those experiencing heat stroke could see high core body temperatures, vomiting, dizziness, increased heart rate, fast breathing or headaches. Heat stroke is aggressive and immediate, so it’s critical to know how to treat it. Quick cold-water immersion is the best treatment until core body temperature is decreased. Call emergency medical services immediately for transport to a medical facility.
Tips To Avoid Sports Injuries
Some risk factors can be modified to help prevent sports-related injuries. Here are few things to do:
- Be sure to wear all required protective equipment like mouth guards and helmets.
- Make sure to warm up prior to any activity and cool down after.
- If injured, do not engage in activity until a doctor approves it
- Stay appropriately hydrated before, during and after the activity
Ochsner Lafayette General Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Specialists Provide Best in Class Care
Mobility can make or break your next move and having a team that understands the unique injuries that come from athletics can mean the difference between a season on the bench or on the field. At Ochsner Lafayette General, our sports medicine and physical therapy specialists are not only your biggest fans, but they’re also experts at diagnosing and treating everything from sprains to complex fractures in the hip, knee, shoulder and more.
Learn more about Ochsner Lafayette General’s Sports Medicine program here.
Schedule an appointment with Dr. Drew here.
About the Author
Dr. Otis R. Drew is the co-medical director for Sports Medicine at Ochsner Lafayette General and offers vast experience in orthopedic and sports medicine to his patients in Acadiana. He focuses on knee and shoulder surgery, particularly for the ACL and rotator cuff. He also provides expertise in custom shoulder replacement, custom knee replacement, and Mako™ robotic surgery. Dr. Drew received his undergraduate degree in biology from the University of Louisiana, Monroe and graduated from Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans. He then went on to perform his residency at Tulane University Health Sciences Center. Dr. Drew’s professional affiliations include the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, Arthroscopy Association of North America, Louisiana Orthopaedic Association, and Louisiana State Medical Society. A native of Baker, La., Dr. Drew lives in Lafayette with his wife, Dr. Kim Drew, a local dermatologist, and their three children.