Archive for Injuries
The numbers are staggering and heartbreaking – girls soccer players are treated for so many concussions each year that they are second only to football among youth athletes. A concussion is a brain injury and the easiest way I can explain it is if you were to take a block of jello and put it in a container then drop it you will see it stays primarily as it bounces of the walls of its container, but do it too many times and the jello does break down. And girls are actually more susceptible to concussions than boys, due in part to anatomy and inherent neck strength – according to a study by the Journal of Athletic Training, in sports that both girls and boys play, like soccer and basketball, girls are 1.5 times more likely to suffer head injuries in basketball and 3 times more likely when playing soccer.
NBC’s Kate Snow of Rock Center did a very informative piece on this alarming trend, how it affects the girls (girls in the interview claimed having multiple concussion over the past few years), what the warning signs are and what needs to be done to lower the numbers. Watch below:
One trend I am very happy to see, at least in our area, is concussion testing at the high school level. Every high school athlete – whether they play football or are on the swim team – go through baseline concussion testing each season. I am wondering if this needs to become a service that is more readily available at the club sports and recreational sports level, too?
Additionally, there are three really important steps you can take as a parent to help prevent concussions in your athlete:
- Make sure she is wearing a mouthguard – mouth guards have been proven to provide additional structural stability in the skull which helps prevent a concussion.
- Know the symptoms of concussions and when in doubt have your athlete seen by a physician
- Resist the urge to let your athlete return to play until she is 100% medically cleared – stick to your guns – no matter how much she or her coach pressure you to let her go back early.
You may also be interested in a documentary by the University of Minnesota’s Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sport highlighting the untold story of female athletes and concussion injuries. Knowledge is power when it comes to reducing the number of concussions young girls are suffering on the field.
If you have kids who play sports, here is a word of advice I have for you – never leave the house without your insurance card! All joking aside, whether you have kids playing sports or not, you really to be prepared for a trip to the Emergency Room when you least expect it (because kids don’t warn you when they are going to get hurt) – I have been un-lucky enough to have been in that situation 3 times in the past 18 months.
Those fabulous stitches in the picture on the right belong to my son. I had just left the pool the other night when I got a call on my cell phone from my son’s coach. He had been swimming and somehow misjudged the wall on his flip turn and managed to catch his forehead on the very immovable pool wall. OUCH!
I quickly turned right around and picked him up from practice and headed to the ER. Two hours and 5 stitches later, he was back in action and joking about the incident. The good news is, that will heal up pretty quickly and he can actually go back to practice this week. The bad news is, that is going to leave a scar. Now, a scar on your hand, leg or other body part is not the end of the world – but depending on how this heals, we may end up looking into having plastic surgery done (I know if it was one of the girls, we would definitely have plastic surgery done).
As the result of our ER visits, I have come up with a few tips for sports parents to make dealing with sports injuries a little less stressful.
6 Sports Injury Tips for Sports Mom & Dads:
1. ALWAYS carry identification and your insurance cards. ALWAYS. Other information you will need to know at the ER include your child’s social security number, their primary care physician’s information and any allergies they may have.
2. Make sure your athlete’s coach has your current contact information and an emergency contact number.
3. Have a backup plan for the other children in the family. Luckily I was able to drop my 10 year old with a friend who took both of my daughters home, sparing them a lengthy wait in the ER with us.
4. Know where the closest medical facility is to your athlete’s regular practice venue. If you are traveling to a competition out of the area, make finding out where is the nearest hospital part of your planning.
5. Stay calm!! The best thing you can do for your child when they are injured is to stay calm and be their advocate.
6. Be sure to ask all the questions you can think of while you have the doctor there – be clear on discharge, follow up and return to activity instructions! One thing I did learn from this incident that I did not know before is that if your child is getting stitches, you can request that a plastic surgeon put the stitches in, instead of the ER doctor assigned to you.
Being prepared for the unexpected is half the battle of parenting, however, when you have an athlete you have to expect the unexpected more often. 😉
It has been a month of drama around here. While I know that injuries are just part of sports, it still stinks when it happens.
My older daughter has been a gymnast since she was a baby (she is now 13), having grown up in the gym while I was coaching. It actually amazes me that she has not had a major injury in all these years. She did have a scary fall off the bars when she was 7 or 8, but she wasn’t hurt. Two weeks ago she was tumbling and second guessed herself for a split second. That split second was enough to put her in a precarious position and she came down hands first from a forward tumbling pass.
She said she heard her arm break, yet some how she just walked off the floor and collapsed near some mats. Most of the gym didn’t even know something had happened. Her teammates and coaches got her arm elevated and on ice, but when I walked in the gym I took one look at her elbow and the very obvious swelling and said let’s go, it’s off to the Emergency Room for you.
I went back into x-ray with her and stood behind the glass with one of the x-ray techs. The new radiology technology is amazing. They took a picture and slid the films into a think that looked like a giant CD player and the x-ray immediately came up on the monitor in front of us. It was so obvious from that first slide that her arm was broken. She ended up with a displaced medial fracture in her humerus bone (she says its not funny though) and they soft casted her right there in the ER.
The next day we headed an hour south to the orthopedic office that specializes in pediatric sports injuries. If your athlete is ever injured – look for a doctor that deals with kids who are athletes on a daily basis – it makes all the difference in the world. The orthopedic doctor took a look at her films and determined that surgery was needed immediately to pin the piece of bone that had broken completely off back onto its rightful place. She broke the arm Monday, we saw the specialist Tuesday and were in surgery Thursday morning. Crazy!
The surgery went very well and she was able to go home that afternoon. She will be in the cast a few more weeks, but since she did not do any soft tissue (muscle, ligament or tendon) damage, they expect the arm to be stronger after the cast comes off than it was before.
The most difficult part of the injury has not been the injury itself rather the fact that she has not been in the gym. The weekend after she broke her arm was the team’s first competition of the season. She didn’t seem to be overly concerned until we walked into the meet to support her friends and then it hit her. That was the very first meet ever that she had not competed in since she was 6. And that was the hardest thing for her to handle. I just wonder if it will be a motivating factor once she is given the all clear to return to training.
We went back to the doctor this week to follow up on the surgery and the cast will stay on until December 13. But at least she has been cleared to go back in the gym and do conditioning – which makes her happy. Gymnasts are a little crazy that way!