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Overuse Injuries Among Young Athletes Common but Preventable

Even though school is out for the summer, young athletes are still training hard for tryouts, practice or just having fun with friends.

In summer, Overland Park Regional Medical Center also sees an increase in young athletes in our three Emergency Rooms across Johnson County.

“Kids are jumping into sports at a young age and young athletes need to properly train,” says Dr. Dan Farrell, orthopedic surgeon with the Sports Medicine Program at Overland Park Regional Medical Center. “These young athletes need to improve mobility, strength and endurance to prevent over use and mechanical injuries.”

In fact, Overland Park Regional Medical Center is seeing an increase in overuse injuries.

“In light of seeing more and more kids who are focusing or specializing in one sport and playing that sport all year round,” says Dr. Farrell.

Dr. Farrell, who is sub specialty boarded in sports medicine from the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery, recommends a mix of the following:

  • Cross training: This helps strengthen different muscle groups and allows over-strained muscles time to rest. Cross training can help improve form and train and develop new skills.
  • Mobility: Dynamic stretching before and after practice or a sporting event.
  • Rest: Resting at least one day a week.

“The word rest can mean different things for different people,” Dr. Farrell says. “Kids need to have fun and relax. That includes not training and not focusing on their sport.”

Parents and coaches have a great deal of influence—for better or for worse. Parents and coaches should stress moderation in training and should restrain the zeal with which they push youth and teens.

“Coaches should themselves learn and use proper training techniques and avoid too many repetitive drills, since the overwhelming reason for overuse injuries is overuse—repeating movements too much, resulting in microtraumas, Dr. Farrell says. “Coaches should also teach proper motion techniques for such activities such as throwing or running.”

Dr. Farrell recommends caregivers and coaches follow this rule of thumb.

“If your child has a deformity, swelling or skin changes, that young athlete should see their primary care physician right away,” says Dr. Farrell.

For more information about the Sports Medicine Program at Overland Park Regional Medical Center, visit oprmc.com/sportsmedicine.

June 23, 2016 by Health Tip
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