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Sports Injuries

Learn which injuries your kids are at risk for, depending on the sports they play, and how to prevent them.

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-In high school athletes, there are approximately 2 million sports injuries per year in the United States of America. I see athletes as young as 8 years old and as old as 18. The most common injuries that I see vary based on what sport I see them playing. In soccer, I see a lot of lower extremity injuries, a lot of knee injuries, tibia fractures, ACL injuries. In football, it's a lot of wrist injury, a lot of shoulder injuries as well as some lower extremity injuries. In runners, it's mostly shin splints and overuse injuries. In ice hockey players, I see a lot of wrist injuries. They get hit into the boards and they fracture their wrist. I've seen as severe of an injury as a femur fracture in ice hockey player as well. So, it varies in part based on the sport. It varies in part based on gender also. Girls are 4 times as likely to injure their ACLs playing basketball or playing soccer. And they're twice as likely to have a fracture of playing soccer. An ACL is an anterior cruciate ligament and it's the main stabilizer of the knee. The ACL is becoming more common of an injury in children. Traditionally, it was just though of as an injury that's seen only in adults because the bones in children tend to be softer, so they tend to fracture bones rather than rupturing the ligament. Sometimes, it's the parents that push kids too hard in sports. The trainers and the coaches are becoming a little bit more attuned to the limits that children need placed on them especially in baseball where now the American Academy of pediatrics recommend limits on pitch count, limits on games played in a row, which is very important because they produce tremendous amount of force on their shoulders and their elbows when they're pitching particularly at a young age. The children themselves are very driven and very competitive and they don't wanna be taken out of the sport. So, if you do see your child acting differently, behaving differently, nursing something even if they're not saying anything, it's probably wise to have it checked out. -Hi, my name is Alona Stern. This is my daughter Alexandria Fitzgerald. -Hi. -She's 17 years old. She's been cheering for 6 years. She's had 3 cheer leading concussion over the last 2 years. She is a flier and she was dropped on one time. -I completely blacked out. No one can really explain it 'cause people don't remember because it happened so fast. -One time she had overextended one of her jumps and fell on her head. -The third one was definitely painful. The first one I didn't know what happened 'cause I never heard of concussions before, but I complained to my mom the day after. I said, "Mom, I think I got hurt in cheer. I dunno." And so, we went to the doctor and then he said go to the hospital and get on some CAT scans and MRIs. -Nobody really informed us of what concussions and the effects of many concussions can have. It's now been diagnosed that Alex has a learning disability because of concussions. -Alexandria is one of those individuals who has sustained several concussions over a period of time and not been appropriately or adequately diagnosed. Sports concussion is usually a transient function-- loss of function of the brain or certain part of the brain. It could temporary, resolves within a period of time. So, what would happen is that Alexandria would go back into cheer leading whether it be falls, whether it be indirectly having someone land in her head doing a lot of the complicated maneuvers, her symptoms kept progressing. She had never fully recovered. One of the most important things is actually mental rest initially. That area of the brain that has been effective for that period of time does not have the same blood flow. It actually is reduced, so basically it doesn't get the same amount of oxygen and glucose. So, if you tax that area of brain and have it work, it cannot respond. A couple of dangers of having an undiagnosed concussion is, you know, number one is this concept, which is not common, of second impact syndrome. Basically what happens during that first week to two after that concussion if you still have symptoms, if you sustain recurrent hits, what happens is the brain can actually swell. And if you think of it, the skull is very hard. If the brain swells, there's no room for the brain to go. So, the brain gets very compressed and pushed. That becomes a neurologic emergency. Many of those kids die, and those who do survive, many of them have significant handicaps. So, that is the nth degree or the worst case scenario. The more common scenario is those kids have symptoms for long period of time. Headaches, dizziness, concentration, which impacts her entire life. I mean, a lot of times sport is focused on, but the reality is these kids are not able to engage in school. They're not able to engage in a social length with their friends. They're not able to do the simple things at home. So, their lives are taken away from them for often extended periods of time. -I'm very much in favor of children playing sports. Overall, it's very safe. It's very healthy. It's much better than playing video games and my job is to make sure that the parents know what the risks are and that they know what proper protective gear is required and that the children have this gear so they can play sports as safely as possible. -I consider myself an athlete and I love cheer leading and I love being athletic, but I've learned that it's better to be in shape and have my health better than to endanger myself 'cause I have a whole life ahead of me. I don't wanna miss it. -Thank you for watching Parents TV, our families our lives.