As the new school year approaches, so does the return of fall sports and that can mean injuries ranging from sprained ankles to ACL injuries and concussions. According to the Centers for Disease Control, sports-related injuries are the leading cause of emergency room visits in 12 to 17-year-olds. Injuries from organized and unorganized sports also account for 775,000 emergency room visits annually.
Kunal Kalra, MD, orthopedic surgeon at DMC Children’s Hospital of Michigan, who is dual fellowship trained in pediatric orthopedics and orthopedic sports medicine, says common fall sports related injuries can include sprains and strains, stress fractures, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries, bruises, dislocations, pulled muscles and concussions. Dr. Kalra says a little preparation can go a long way in preventing some injuries.
Here are some tips parents and athletes should consider before participating in any sports related activity.
• Get a sports physical before the season, which can uncover underlying medical problems that can increase complications and injuries.
• Participate in regular warm-up exercises to increase flexibility.
• Use recommended safety equipment such as pads, helmets, mouthpieces, protective cups and eyewear.
• Get proper conditioning to strengthen muscles.
• Proper coaching about prevention of overuse injuries of the upper and lower extremities can significantly reduce the risk of injuries during the season.
• Hydrate before, during and after exercise to avoid heat-related illness.
• Wear sunscreen for outdoor sports to prevent burns.
• Do not continue activity if pain is severe or if it persists more than 2 weeks.
The Department of Orthopedic Surgery at DMC Children’s Hospital of Michigan offers convenient child-friendly services in metropolitan Detroit including locations at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit as well as specialty centers in Canton and Clinton Township. For further information visit www.childrensdmc.org/orthopedics, or call 313-745-KIDS (313-745-5437) to see a specialist.