Did you know that sports injuries are some of the most common reasons for medical visits among children in middle school and high school?

The Centers for Disease Control estimate that nearly 3.2 million children each year are hospitalized from sports injuries annually. In addition, over 750,000 children between the ages of 12-17 are treated in an emergency room (ER) for sports and recreation-related injuries. So what should parents do to protect their children from experiencing a painful injury on the field?

Effective prevention can help student athletes avoid certain injuries and mitigate the severity of new injuries. And knowing when to get your child injury treatment at a nearby walk-in clinic or urgent care center can help make recovery more straightforward. So what do parents need to know about preventing and managing sports injuries?

What you shouldn’t do is discourage your child from participating in school sports and related recreational activities. School sports can be a great outlet for your child to improve physical activity, social interactions, and other emotional/physical benefits. However, it is important to understand the basic prevention and treatment guidelines for sports injuries.

Appropriate treatment options for sports injuries

Whenever your child has a sports injury you should take them to one of two medical treatment options.

The first is the emergency room, but only when your child experiences a critical and even potentially life-threatening injury during play. The second option is going to an urgent care center, which most parents will want to do. This is because urgent care centers are a more affordable and convenient option for minor injuries.

Prevention techniques for sports injuries: 

The best way to prevent sports injuries is to get an updated school or sports physical for your child.

A medical professional can evaluate if your child is healthy enough to play the sport, if they are injury prone, and when they can possibly begin participation in a given athletic activity. Most school sports and scholastic leagues also require a sports physical before a child is cleared to play.

A few other skills that will allow your child to prevent injuries both on and off the field include:

  • Participating in activities with a coach or trainer that help teach defensive skills, such as stopping or making contact appropriately.
  • Evaluating your child’s sporting equipment, such as helmets and pads, to see if they fit properly. If they don’t fit properly speak with the equipment retailer or school to get equipment that fits.
  • Stretching before games can help your child prevent injuries such as sprains or muscle pulls.
  • Avoiding play during injury prone physical conditions, like muscle pulls, can help reduce the chance of injury.  And “playing through the pain” will only increase injury prevalence.

Urgent care centers specialize in minor injury treatment including sprains, bone breaks, muscle pulls, bruises, cuts, and lacerations. Thankfully, most sports injuries are minor and only require care at an urgent care center.

Understand the best prevention and treatment options to provide your child the safest school sports experience possible!