Playing recreational or competitive sports can be such a great part of any child’s social and athletic development. The only drawback is, there is always that risk of being injured.
Statics Canada proves that 35% of Canadians were injured while participating in some sort of sport or exercise, and two-thirds of those injuries were young people between the ages of 12-19.
The most common body part injured by young people (between the ages of 12-19) are their feet and ankles – rating in at 33%. The second highest injured area for these kids are wrists and hands at 22%.
Taking your Kids to a Physio:
If you’ve ever compared the time it takes for your adult boo-boo to heal compared to your kids, then you will know that kids typically heal very quickly. Unfortunately sometimes young athletes’ injuries may be trivialized. They are often encouraged to “toughen up and play through the pain’. This approach is really not recommended, and is not in the young athletes’ best interest.
As a parent, guardian or coach you need to ensure that you’re paying close attention to the healing process of a young person’s injury. It’s important for their growing bodies that their muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments heal fully. A physiotherapist can manage and monitor your child’s rehabilitation process, and provide them with valuable information regarding their activities, movements and mobility throughout their treatments.
What to expect from your Child’s Physio Assessment:
In most cases, your physiotherapist can make an accurate diagnosis by listening to your child’s injury history and performing a thorough clinical examination. The adolescent’s age, sex and level of participation in sports are important. A description of how the injury occurred is valuable. Your physio will want to know if there was a “pop”, swelling, history of previous injury, family history or similar injury, locking or giving way, or other signs or symptoms. They’ll also ask about how much training and game time your child is logging in order to detect if “overtraining” could be part of the reason for injury.
Tips for Parents and Coaches
- Allow your kids to play at their own intensity and pace.
- Emphasize stretching and flexibility exercises
- Make sure you child is conditioned properly before starting a team sport
- Encourage daily activity during off season sports
- Make sure fields are in reasonably good condition and that protective equipment fits correctly. (helmets, shoulder pads, shin guards etc.)
When in doubt, seek expert medical advice. It’s better to be safe than sorry. In general, kids are motivated to play sports because it’s fun. Parents and coaches who demand too much may be putting their children at risk.