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  • Youth Sports: Preventing Burnout and Injury

    Recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) took a close look at the pros and cons associated with participation in youth sports. While there are many physical and mental benefits for kids and teens who participate, data shows that nearly three-quarters withdraw from their activities by 13-years-old. To bolster participation turnout and promote safety, the AAP released a detailed report on ways to recognize and prevent overuse injuries, burnout, and overtraining in young athletes.

    The AAP’s newest report was published in February in the medical journal Pediatrics. It was the AAP’s first update to a previous report published in 2007, which examined how excessive training can lead to overuse injury, overtraining, impaired well-being and a decreased quality of life. The Academy’s update examines how pediatricians can encourage healthy athletic participation while simultaneously limiting the chances of participants falling prey to preventable injuries and complications associated with excessive training in youth sports. Here are just a few of the AAP’s examples of what young people who excessively train may experience:

    • The Academy defines overtraining as a “decrease in performance due to an imbalance of training and recovery that is often accompanied by persistent fatigue, impaired sleep and alterations in mood”
    • Risk factors for burnout include excessive training volume and overscheduling. This often results from young athletes participating on multiple teams at the same time and training year-round
    • Growing bones in children are less tolerant of stress than those of adults. As a result, children’s bones seem to be more prone to developing stress injuries. Some of the most common sports-related injuries that children sustain are caused by repetitive stress and overuse

    Common Sports-Related Injuries

    Approximately 30 million American kids and teens participate in organized sports – and many experience problems in addition to overexertion and overtraining. According to Stanford Medicine Children’s Health, more than 3.5 million youths sustain sports-related injuries each year. These injuries typically include strains, sprains and tears, broken bones and fractures, dehydration, concussions and other types of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), and more. Here are some other important organized sports-related injury facts to familiarize yourself with:

    • The highest rate of injuries occur in sports that involve contact and collision, like football, soccer, wrestling, and basketball. Other sports, like swimming and baseball, can be quite dangerous too
    • About 62% of sports-related injuries happen during practice
    • Although death from a sports-related injury is rare, it does happen. The leading cause of fatality from a sports injury is a traumatic brain injury
    • Sports and recreational activities contribute to approximately 21% of all TBIs in children
    • Over 775,000 children, ages 14 and below, sustain significant enough sports-related injuries that they need to be treated in hospital emergency rooms annually

    Tips to Prevent Injuries from Happening

    Despite there being some real risks associated with youth sports, they also come with a slew of meaningful benefits. For example, the AAP finds that when athletic competition and training are delivered in the appropriate way that they lead to adaptation, success, and enjoyment. Leading a physically active lifestyle has numerous physical and mental health benefits, as well. The issues arise when sports and training are delivered inappropriately, unsafely, and/or excessively. The Academy has helpful recommendations for reducing risk factors, such as:

    • Athletes should undergo a preparticipation exam within their medical home, so that their pediatrician can provide a comprehensive approach towards their sports involvement
    • Promote skill development and being well-rounded in physical activities while avoiding overtraining and overscheduling young athletes
    • Encourage athletic autonomy and intrinsic motivation, measure success on participation and effort (not on results, like winning a game), and foster positive experiences with parents, coaches, and peers
    • When there are signs of overtraining or burnout, encourage the athlete, parent, and coach to modify the causative factors and if needed, involve a mental health professional
    • Keep workouts interesting and fun by incorporating age-appropriate games and training methods

    Other useful ways to reduce the likelihood of a sports-related injury from happening include ensuring that participants use the proper safety equipment (like goggles/safety glasses, helmets, mouthguards, etc.), staying hydrated, telling your child’s coach or gym teacher about any relevant medical issues and warming up and stretching before playing any sports.

    If you have a question about filing a claim related to your child’s sports-related injury, someone at our firm can help. To learn more, contact a representative online now.

    Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP, Representing Injured Victims Since 1947

    If you have questions about filing a claim for injuries you sustained, contact the Philadelphia personal injury attorneys at Galfand Berger LLP today. Call us at 800-222-USWA (8792) or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, we serve clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including Allentown and Harrisburg.

    ALLENTOWN/BETHLEHEM
    1-800-222-USWA (8792)

    LANCASTER
    717-824-3376

    READING
    610-376-1696