Your Young Child and Sports Injuries: Should You Worry?

Father Looking After Son Injured Playing FootballAs school begins again, your child will be exposed to various sports- participation should be encouraged. The fall sports usually include soccer, football, and late baseball. You, as parents should do your homework also about safety and sports and always promote the acquisition and use of the best and latest equipment available to protect your children from injury. Once this is accomplished, you should also be on the lookout for injuries to your own child during sport play.

The younger your child is, the less likely there is to be a significant injury and the more likely the level of theatrics will be elevated. Many reasons for this are: lighter body weights, lack of high volume inertial injuries, slower running, and natural avoidance of collisions during sport play. You should not only rely on the opinion of coaches and ancillary personnel to decide if it is OK for your child to continue to participate in the sport. In point of fact they might very well be more conservative than you when determining if a child should return to play. Either go to him/her or call him/her over to you and do your own rapid exam and evaluation; after all, you are the one who knows your child better than anyone.

Limb injuries are very common among sports injuries and you should ask him/her where and how much this hurts. Feel the area for irregularities in shape and/ or movement. Ask him to use the extremity in the appropriate action and judge his/her level of discomfort; he/she would not like to be taken out of the game and “stigmatized” as a “baby”- but at this age will not have the same drive to participate that the older child will show. Because of the reasons mentioned above, an actual fracture would be unusual at lower ages- not impossible. If there is any doubt in your mind, take him to an urgent care or emergency room for evaluation.

Head injuries are less common than extremity injuries but are the most important and become more so as the child grows and exerts more and more inertial energy to collisions.

Any child who is unconscious for any length of time after the injury, is amnesic about the details of the incident, cannot answer simple questions as to where he/she is or, what he/she is doing here, etc., or is just “not acting right” to you as his/her parent should be removed immediately from the game and taken for evaluation.

While mild “concussions” are common these children must be observed as per his/her Doctor, and repeated such episodes can become dangerous.

In summary, know your child well, be proactive in helping to assure there is the proper protective equipment and evaluating your child’s injury yourself, and always be conservative with decision making after sports injuries.

About the Author

Dr. Joseph Skoloff received his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and his medical degree from The Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. He is a past Vice Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics, a past Chairman of the Infection Control Committee at the Loudoun Hospital Center and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. In his 41 years as a practicing pediatrician he has kept hundreds of kids and families healthy and safe and plans to continue to do so for years to come. Dr. Joe believes strongly in the combined power of parent and physician working together for the health of their children. He is an advocate for children everywhere and and adheres strongly to the principles of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr Joe is a member of the PedSafe Expert team


2 Responses to “Your Young Child and Sports Injuries: Should You Worry?”

  1. Sheila Dunn says:

    Very good advice about getting evaluated for a concussion. Both of my sons play football. This is something I have worried about for years, but thankfully they have not had any serious injuries.

    • Stefanie Zucker Stefanie Zucker says:

      Thanks Sheila! We appreciate your dropping us a note to let us know you liked the post. We’ll make sure to pass that on to Dr. Joe. Please stop by anytime. Have a nice weekend!

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