It's one of a parent's worst nightmares. The phone rings at work. "Ms. Ramirez? Your son Raoul was injured during football practice. His knee may be badly hurt."
Childhood sports injuries like Raoul's may be inevitable, but there are some things a parent can do to help prevent them:
If your child receives a soft tissue injury, commonly known as a sprain or a strain, or a bone injury, the best immediate treatment is easy to remember. "RICE" (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) the injury. Get professional treatment if any injury is severe. A severe injury means having an obvious fracture or dislocation of a joint, prolonged swelling, or prolonged or severe pain.
Heat-related illnesses are another type of sports injury that require close monitoring. Children perspire less than adults and require a higher core body temperature to trigger sweating. Heat-related illnesses include dehydration (deficit in body fluids), heat exhaustion (nausea, dizziness, weakness, headache, pale and moist skin, heavy perspiration, normal or low body temperature, weak pulse, dilated pupils, disorientation, fainting spells), and heat stroke (headache, dizziness, confusion, and hot dry skin, possibly leading to vascular collapse, coma, and death). These conditions are dangerous and can even be fatal, but they can be prevented.
Don't forget to have children wear sunscreen and a hat to reduce the chance of sunburn. Sun protection may also decrease the chances of malignant melanoma — a potentially deadly skin cancer — or other skin cancers that can occur later in life. It is also very important that your child has access to water or a sports drink to stay properly hydrated while playing.
Even though Raoul got hurt, his involvement in sports is important. Exercise may reduce his chances of obesity, which is becoming more common in children. It may also lessen his risk of diabetes, a disease that is sometimes associated with a lack of exercise and poor eating habits. Sports also helps children build social skills and provides them with a general sense of well-being. Sports participation is an important part of learning how to build team skills.
As a parent, it is important to match your child to the sport, and not push him or her too hard into an activity that he or she may not like or be capable of doing.
How your child can prevent sports injuries:
DiSCLAIMER: The content of this site is offered as educational material for parents, not as medical advice. If you have a question about a specific condition or symptom your child has then you need to consult a medical professional.