Participating in sports as a child can offer many benefits such as socialisation, the development of self-confidence and general fitness. However, studies estimate that approximately one million Australians injure themselves while playing sports each year. Whilst participation in any sport increases the risk of injury, safe practices can reduce the severity of injuries if they do happen.
Here are a few things to look out for as children start to return to sports across Western Australia:
Concussion – Known as a mild traumatic brain injury affecting the brain’s ability to process information. Concussion is most commonly associated with head collisions and falls, with common symptoms including dazed appearance, headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and confusion. If you suspect your child has a concussion seek medical advice as soon as possible.
Overuse injuries – Sporting injuries can affect the bone and soft tissue in children, increasing the likelihood of future injuries. It is recommended that children avoid over training and limit their participation in numerous sporting activities. Overuse injuries are becoming more frequent in children who specialise in a sport and use repetitive movements. If you suspect your child has an overuse injury it is best to seek medical advice.
Hydration – Replacement of fluids is an important part of participating in any sport or recreational activity. Staying hydrated reduces the risk of dehydration and other heat related injuries. Younger children are more susceptible to heat stress as they have more difficulty removing heat from their bodies compared to adults. Water is the best hydration choice for children and adults participating in any sport or physical activity. If you suspect your child is dehydrated seek medical advice.
Playing Injured – Correctly managing current injuries in children participating in sports is essential in reducing the severity of the injury. A recovery period is needed to prevent any further damage, and applying immediate first-aid can reduce the aggravation of the injury and the recovery time needed. Prior to a child returning to sport they should be pain free, able to move the injured area freely and have regained strength.