Keeping your young athletes healthy during Spring Sports

Keeping your young athletes healthy during Spring Sports

If you live in Spring Branch Texas, or anywhere for that manner, Spring means it’s time for practice and participation in an array of group and individual sports, including soccer, tennis, volleyball, swimming, golf, lacrosse, track and field, gymnastics, cycling, baseball, and softball. Even off-season fall sports, like football and basketball, typically have a busy spring training and tournament schedule.

While youth sports are proven to help build bonds, encourage fair play, promote exercise and good nutrition, improve emotional well being, and hone physical skills, there’s always a risk of sports-related injuries for the over 47 million kids in the U.S. participating in spring sport activities. One problem is that many young athletes and parents have a lot of misconceptions about the risk of sporting injuries, such as athletes only getting injured during games, which isn’t true. Here are five facts to help you avoid some of the common misconceptions and get the appropriate treatment.

Fact 1: Around 62% of sport-related injuries happen during practices.

While some schools have a period set aside for practices during school hours, most all teams utilize after hour, weekend, and early mornings as part of their practice schedules. This means, should an injury occur during practice, your primary care physician is likely not available and your options for treatment are the emergency room or urgent care facility.

Those familiar with Hospital ER visits understand that the wait is long, treatment is limited to emergency care, and you’re often left on your own to follow-up with your primary care physician for any extended care needs.

However, Sacred Heart Emergency Center is open 24/7/365 and offers many of the same services as a sports medicine clinic, including casts, braces, and splints. They can also refer you to an appropriate specialist or therapist should the injury require specialized follow-up care or extended treatment.

Fact 2: An estimated 33% of youth team sport athletes will suffer an injury severe enough to miss at least one practice or game each year.

Many athletes and parents forgo treatment for non-debilitating injuries, aches, and pains, viewing it as just par for the course. This can be a costly mistake. Even minor injuries should always be evaluated by a professional sports injury doctor. Why? Take a minor muscle strain as an example. Most athletes can practice and play through the injury. However, without proper care, the strained muscle can escalate into a season-ending or career-ending muscle tear.

Again, knowing that you’ll likely be sitting at the emergency room for hours upon hours or waiting for an appointment with a primary care physician that’s days or weeks away is a serious deterrent in getting the young athlete checked out when an injury appears to be minor.

Freestanding Emergency Rooms such as Sacred Heart Emergency Center, not only have specialized doctors available at many locations to treat acute, chronic, minor, and major sports injuries, they also do not require an appointment. And, you’ll typically wait less than an hour to see an urgent care doctor verses spending half a day to see an ER doctor.

Fact 3: Injuries can happen in any sport.

There are over 120 different types of youth sports. Some have a greater probability and risk for injury than others. Football, soccer, and basketball are notorious for traumatic injury. This is because they’re considered contact sports, whereby young athletes make direct physical contact with other athletes. As such, traumatic injuries are obviously a concern. But, don’t think that because swimming, gymnastics, and cycling aren’t contact sports they don’t produce injuries. They do. Shin splints, dislocations, strains and sprains, contusions, and repetitive use injuries are common. Again, urgent care centers are equipped to diagnose and treat these injuries efficiently and expediently.

Fact 4: ACL tears are eight times more likely to occur in females as they are in males.

It’s not uncommon for athletes and parents to assume that injuries like ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tears only happen to professional athletes or in male dominated sports like football. Cheerleading, gymnastics, soccer, and basketball are just a few of the sports whereby female athletes are prone to ACL injuries. Research has also suggested that the biomechanics and anatomic makeup of females make them more prone than their male counterparts to suffer ACL injuries.

If you suspect an ACL injury, your urgent care center will use digital X-ray and other state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment to confirm the injury so that it, or any other injury, can be treated immediately.

Fact 5: By being proactive, many sports-related injuries can be prevented.

Here are some proactive steps you can take to keep your young athlete healthy, prevent injuries, and prevent minor injuries progressing into more serious injuries:

  • Schedule a sports participation physical at an urgent care location at the beginning and end of each sporting season.
  • Alert coaching staff to any medical conditions, special needs, and past injuries.
  • Encourage proper nutrition and hydration; schedule an appointment with a nutritionist to evaluate your athlete’s special nutritional needs during training and throughout the season.
  • Encourage proper warmups and stretching exercises.
  • Ensure that all appropriate safety gear is worn and in play-worthy condition.
  • Stress that pain and discomfort are warming signals that should be heeded to prevent serious injury and be discussed with both you and coaching staff.
  • Determine an appropriate training schedule. Most sports therapy experts recommend at least one day of rest from training to give the body time to recoup.
  • Be familiar with the signs and symptoms of injuries common to your child’s sport, especially serious life-threatening injuries like concussions.
  • If you suspect an injury, do not continue with practice, training, or game play until examined and cleared by a doctor.

If you are asking the question “Is there an emergency care near me?” then the answer is “Yes.” Sacred Heart Emergency Room is Houston’s top rated 24-hour emergency room and medical facility serving the Memorial, Spring Branch and Bunker Hill Village areas. We have a “walk-in clinic” format and an appointment is never required.