Top 6 Common Sports Injuries for Children Athletes – What Parents Need To Know

Football, the Number One Cause of the Most Common Sports Injuries It’s fall! Which means it’s time to break out the cowbells and get ready to cheer for your kids out on the field. But as school sports ramp up, it’s important to also become aware of the risks associated with them. Did you know that football is considered the number one most dangerous sport in terms of common sports injuries for children? It’s followed in order by basketball, soccer, and baseball.

The top two diagnosed sports injuries are strains and sprains — 451,480 diagnosed annually, in fact. Next include broken bones, bruises, scrapes and concussions. The body parts most injured include the ankle, head, finger, knee and face. Sports injuries are common, and while some can be cared for at home, there are others that require the attention of a medical professional. Let’s take a closer look at the signs and symptoms the top six most common sports injuries.

Strains

A strain is an injury to either the muscles or tendons. They are not as serious as sprains, but can still hurt just as much. Strains are common for someone returning to a sport after the off-season and/or if they haven’t warmed up enough. They often occur in the feet, legs (typically the hamstrings) or in the back.

Sprains

A sprain happens because of an injury to a ligament, one of the bands of tough, fibrous tissue that connects two or more bones at a joint and prevents excessive movement of the joint. An ankle sprain is the most common athletic injury, wrists and knees also sprain easily.

The recommended at-home treatment for a sprain is the same as for a strain: rest, ice, compression and elevation. If your child is experiencing pain and swelling and can’t move the affected area without assistance, get them to eMedical Urgent Care for a thorough exam.

Broken Bones

Broken bones or bone fractures are common to contact or outdoor sports and can be classified into several types: the most common ones are the closed, open or compound, spiral, impacted, transverse and oblique fractures. Normally, minor broken bones can be dealt with in urgent care settings, such as those of the hand, wrist, ankle or feet. But compound fractures, where the bones are exposed and also involve wounds, warrant a trip to the emergency room.

Bruises

A muscle or bone bruise due to a direct blow is common in contact sports. Consider giving pain control such as an ice pack and acetaminophen and watch your child for a few hours if there are no open wounds or swelling of the injured area. But if the pain prevents your child from doing normal activities, you’re not sure what’s the best approach, or the incident resulted in “goose egg” type-swelling, give us a call.

Scrapes

Minor scrapes, cuts, and road rash are common on the sports field and can often be taken care of at home. After washing your hands, clean the wound to prevent infection, stop the bleeding with gauze and apply a clean bandage and antibacterial ointment.

Concussions

Our last, and most serious injury on the list is a concussion. A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) that temporarily interferes with the way the brain functions. Because the brain “floats” in fluid in the skull, a blow to the head or jolt to the body, such as a car accident or collision between players on the sports field, can send it crashing into the hard bones of the skull, resulting in this injury. For boys, football is the leading cause of sports-related concussions and for girls, it’s soccer and basketball. Bicycling is responsible for the most non-sports related concussions.

According to a recent study published in JAMA Pediatrics, about one-third of pediatric patients with concussion experience symptom spikes over the consecutive days. The risk of symptom spike was increased with an abrupt increase in mental activity (i.e., returning to school and extracurricular activities) from one day to the next.

Symptoms of a concussion can include headache, light/sound sensitivity, nausea and vomiting, blurred vision, trouble concentrating and/or remembering things, trouble balancing or walking as well as difficulty sleeping. When in doubt, take your child to urgent care if they have sustained a head injury and symptoms are mild to moderate. If the child displays more intense symptoms such as loss of consciousness for longer than 30 seconds, don’t hesitate to go to the emergency room.

Preventing and Treating Injuries Common Sports Injuries

Injuries can happen to any active child who participates in sports, but a couple ways to help prevent injuries is to make sure your child has (and consistently uses) proper gear, engages in proper warm ups, follows safety rules and is prepared with a thorough preseason physical.

At night or on weekends, we‘re here. Patients are seen on a walk-in basis without appointment with convenient hours that are designed to fit your busy schedule. Learn more about our services and how we can treat you by calling our location in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey (908) 464-6700, or Middletown, New Jersey (732) 957-0707.

Don’t Let Sports Injuries Sideline Your Season

By eMedical Urgent Care

Behind every good athlete is a great physician. During a sports physical at the Middletown EMO or Berkeley Heights EMO, any bone, muscle or head injury history to-date is thoroughly reviewed and examined to keep athletes in top shape for the upcoming season. However, tackles, tumbles and falls are bound to happen.

Stunts and plays don’t always go as planned and someone is left on the injured list. Sports-related injuries – minor or major – are inevitable, but how you react will determine the long-term effects of your injury. Often athletes try to finish the game by “pushing through” the pain. While determination and heart are commendable attributes athletes possess, it also is smart to seek medical attention; don’t let one game be your last game.
The following are three most common sports-related injuries, their symptoms and treatments.

Bone Fractures

A fracture is a break in a bone. Fractures can be simple or complex in multiple pieces. The fracture can bleed into the surrounding tissue, resulting in bruising and, in severe cases, a limb-threatening condition called compartment syndrome. The fracture also can injure adjacent nerves, tendons or blood vessels.

Signs of a Fracture

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Deformity
  • Numbness

If you experience any of these symptoms it is best to seek medical attention. During your visit to eMedical Urgent Care in Middletown NJ or Berkeley Heights NJ, a doctor will perform a physical examination. If a fracture is strongly suspected and not seen on X-ray, a CT scan may be recommended. If needed, the doctor will recommend seeing an orthopedic surgeon.

Concussions

Concussion occurs after head trauma and results in headache, confusion, loss of consciousness or other neurological symptoms without any abnormality on a CT scan. Second impact syndrome occurs when a second concussion takes place before the first improves and can result in severe or persistent symptoms and, rarely, brain swelling or death.

Signs of a Concussion

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Weakness
  • Double Vision
  • Vertigo

After getting hit in the head it is expected that a headache would follow. However, when sustaining a head injury it is best to visit eMedical Urgent Care or your local emergency department to rule out a traumatic brain injury. When visiting our EMO office in Middletown or Berkeley Heights, a physician will perform a physical examination. A CT scan and/or MRI may be ordered to rule out any serious brain injuries as indicated.  If needed, our physician will recommend seeing a neurologist.

Lacerations

Lacerations are cuts to the skin. Lacerations can be simple, involving only the skin, or complex, with injury to tendons, nerves and/or blood vessels. With tendon lacerations there is weakness in the movement of the affected limb or appendage, and with nerve damage, numbness is experienced in areas away from the location of the laceration.

Signs of a Laceration

  • Cut
  • Bleeding
  • Weakness
  • Numbness

If you have a cut that won’t stop bleeding after being covered with a bandage for a few hours, you should head to either the Middletown or Berkeley Heights eMedical Urgent Care center.  A history and physical exam will be performed with special attention to blood vessels, nerve and tendon functions to evaluate the injury. An X-ray may be done to rule out a foreign body. Simple lacerations may require only a bandage or sutures may be necessary. More complex lacerations may require repair of tendons, nerves and/or arteries. A tetanus vaccination may be recommended.

As long as there are athletes there will be injuries. eMedical Urgent Care asks that you play responsibly. From pee-wee football to varsity to rec league, our doctors can treat a variety of sports-related injuries quickly and competently. And, should you need a sports physical for the next season, we can do that too.

If you need medical attention for a non-life-threatening illness or injury, eMedical Urgent Care Middletown and Berkeley Heights are open during the evening hours to treat walk-in patients. If you have questions about medical conditions, download iTriage from the iTunes or Android Marketplace, or check out iTriageHealth.com for your healthcare answers.

Fall Sports: How to Recognize a Concussion

Blue Football HelmetIt’s a brisk fall afternoon. You’re sitting in the bleachers, watching your son’s JV football game. In the scuffle during a play he hits his head on the turf. You see him get up a bit slowly, but he shakes it off and lines up for the next play. Should you be concerned?

It is estimated there are 3 million head injuries each year related to contact sports, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For teens and young adults aged 15 to 24 years, it is second only to motor vehicle accidents as the cause of traumatic brain injuries.

Concussions can be caused by mild or more severe blows to the head. They may or may not involve loss of consciousness. Recently, more attention has been placed on recognizing and treating concussions earlier to decrease the risk of long-term neurological damage.

The Signs of a Concussion
Early signs of a concussion include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Vision changes
  • Unequally sized pupils
  • Lack of awareness of surroundings
  • Slurred or incoherent speech
  • Lack of coordination

If your child is injured and shows any of the above signs, he or she should stop participating in the sports activity immediately. The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association requires that any student athlete who sustains a possible concussion or any loss of consciousness be removed immediately from play. A medical evaluation is required to determine if a concussion was sustained. If it’s determined that your child did have a concussion, he or she must be symptom-free for one week before he or she can return to play.

You should seek immediate medical attention if your child’s symptoms persist for more than 10 minutes. If the symptoms are mild, such as mild headache, dizziness, nausea without vomiting or loss of memory for a few minutes, watch to see if the symptoms worsen. The physicians at eMedical Urgent Care can help determine if further care is needed.

When to Go to the Emergency Department
You should bring your child to the nearest emergency department if the injury involves:

  • Large cuts
  • Prolonged loss of consciousness
  • Severe headaches
  • Drowsiness
  • Inability to walk
  • Slurred speech
  • Seizures

What to Expect After a Concussion
A few days to a few weeks after having a concussion your child might experience:

  • A persistent, low-grade headache
  • Light-headedness
  • Poor attention and concentration
  • Memory issues
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Frustration
  • Anxiety and/or a depressed mood
  • Trouble sleeping

The recovery period for concussions can vary from patient to patient. Some may develop “post-concussion syndrome,” which can last weeks or months and includes chronic headaches, dizziness and nausea.  If your child sustains a more severe concussion, he or she should be seen by a neurologist in addition to your primary physician to manage ongoing care.