NEWARK—Spring is upon us, which means warmer weather and spring sports! Though sports are a wonderful way to keep America’s youths active and socialized, they can also cause injury if not carefully monitored.
According to Safe Kids USA, each year, more than 3.5 million children aged 14 years and under receive medical treatment for sports injuries. To promote sports safety and help prevent injury, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, an affiliate of the Saint Barnabas Health Care System, recognizes April as National Youth Sports Safety Month—a national health event initiated by the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation Inc.
Some of the most common sports-related injuries for children include sprains, muscle strains, bone or growth plate injuries, repetitive motion injuries and heat-related illness.
“Once it starts getting warmer out, dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke can be major issues,” said Michael Rosen, MD, head of the Pediatric Emergency Department at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center. “Children are more vulnerable to these conditions because their bodies are less efficient at cooling. Parents and coaches should make sure that the kids get plenty of water and take frequent breaks to cool themselves off.”
Symptoms of dehydration include thirst, fatigue, irritability, dry mouth and feeling hot. Heat exhaustion—a more serious illness—involves symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, vomiting, headaches, weakness, profuse sweating, excessive thirst, and muscle aches and cramps. Heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, which is a medical emergency. Symptoms of this condition include a high body temperature; nausea and vomiting; seizures; disorientation or delirium; hot, dry skin or profuse sweating; unconsciousness; shortness of breath; decreased urination; or blood in urine or stool.
In addition to preventing these serious heat illnesses, parents and coaches can prevent other injuries by:
- Ensuring a safe sports environment by checking the athletic grounds for hazards like rocks, holes or water.
- Having your child wear appropriate and properly sized/adjusted protective gear for practices and games.
- Making sure your child has a physical screening before starting sports.
- Actively supervising the children during play.
- Making sure responsible adults know and enforce the safety rules of the sport, are present to provide supervision and are trained in first aid and CPR.
- Providing children with adequate rest breaks during practice and games.
For more information about sports injury and prevention, contact Newark Beth Israel Medical Center at 1-973-926-7000.
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