Recognize and Prevent Common Injuries That Could Sideline Your Athlete


Published:

iStock photo

For many kids, playing sports is an important part of growing up. They learn more than the right way to hit/kick/throw/dribble a ball. They develop a healthy lifestyle while learning teamwork, sportsmanship and perseverance.

Unfortunately, along with those great life lessons can come sports injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2.6 million kids age 19 and younger visit the emergency room for sports- and recreation-related injuries each year.

Dr. Edwin R. Cadet is an orthopedic surgeon with Raleigh Orthopaedic. He’s also an official orthopedic surgeon for North Carolina State University’s athletic department. With more kids involved in sports these days, Cadet says he sees a variety of overuse injuries. These injuries occur when growing bodies are stressed from repetitive motions like throwing, running or jumping. Often, Cadet’s patients are children who specialize in a single sport or play for extended seasons.

“My personal recommendation is not to specialize until later in high school,” Cadet says. “It’s been demonstrated that the earlier kids specialize in one sport, the higher their rate for injury.”

Cadet counsels parents to ensure that kids who focus on a single sport get an off-season. Taking a break helps kids prevent overuse injuries. Though most overuse injuries are treated with rest and not surgery, athletes could be sidelined for up to a year. Some injuries can have lasting effects. The following are some of the more common overuse injuries young athletes experience and ways to prevent those injuries.

Runner’s Knee

Runner’s knee is caused when the kneecap doesn’t track properly during motion. Kids can experience swelling and pain in their knee. They may also have difficulty climbing stairs. Cadet says he often sees this condition in athletes who participate in soccer and track and field.

Treatment for runner’s knee involves physical therapy to strengthen and stabilize the knee area. Kids may also need to rest and take an anti-inflammatory, like ibuprofen. To prevent the injury, kids can practice basic strength-building exercises like jumping rope, squats and leg raises. Cadet says body weight is sufficient for young athletes, and that it’s best to delay weight-training until high school, when bones are more developed and stable.

Osgood-Schlatter Disease

As kids’ bones grow, tendons and muscles have to catch up. This delay can put additional strain on already-soft bones. Osgood-Schlatter disease is a swelling of the tendon that attaches the kneecap to the shinbone. Kids may experience swelling and complain of a painful bump below their knee. Osgood-Schlatter disease is more common in kids during growth spurts, especially if they participate in sports that involve a lot of running and jumping.

This overuse injury usually resolves itself as kids’ growth slows. Initially, however, kids should rest from sports for six weeks or more. Health care providers may also recommend a short period of ibuprofen and icing to reduce the swelling. Stretching before exercise can help reduce the pull on kids’ growing limbs and lower the risk of injury.

Little League Elbow

Little League elbow is another overuse injury associated with throwing that is common in adolescents. It’s usually seen in young baseball pitchers (hence the name), but can also be experienced by gymnasts, golfers and tennis players. Repeat stress on the elbow from throwing a ball or doing handstands can cause inflammation in a child’s elbow growth plates. Kids with Little League elbow may complain of aching or swelling.

Athletes generally recover from this injury with 6-12 weeks of rest. Parents can help prevent injury by monitoring their athlete’s activity level. For instance, baseball players shouldn’t exceed their league’s pitch count for a given time period. Parents can also encourage their kids not to “play through the pain,” which will only prolong their recovery time.

ACL Injury

An anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury is a tear or sprain to ligaments in an athlete’s knee. ACL injuries can happen when athletes plant their weight on one foot and twist, as when a soccer player kicks a ball. Kids may report feeling a “pop” in their knee, followed by pain and swelling. According to the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, ACL injuries are more common with female athletes. More than 50,000 female athletes at the high school and collegiate level report ACL injuries each year.

Unfortunately, Cadet says, ACL injuries are becoming more prevalent in young athletes and usually require surgery. Depending on the severity of the tear or sprain, recovery time could run from nine months to a year. Athletes with ACL injuries could also suffer later from osteoarthritis. Kids can prevent ACL injuries with proper conditioning and training. A consultation with a physical therapist or sports trainer can help athletes identify weak muscles or faulty techniques that could lead to injury.

Concussions

No discussion about kids and sports would be complete these days without talking about concussions. Concussions are caused by a sudden movement that jars the brain inside the skull. According to the CDC’s HEADS UP program, kids who return to sports before they’ve fully recovered from a concussion are more likely to have repeat concussions. The effects of repeat concussions can be serious and lasting, as many retired NFL players can attest to.

Concussions can occur in any sport, but are more common in contact sports like football, lacrosse and soccer. The risk of a head injury can be reduced with proper fitting equipment, like helmets. Common symptoms parents should watch for include complaints of a headache, loss of consciousness, nausea or vomiting. Treatments will vary, but generally involve a period of rest from activity and screen time.

If you suspect your child has a concussion, see your child’s health care provider right away. For more information about kids and concussions, visit cdc.gov/headsup.


Christa C. Hogan writes for kids and adults. She lives in the Triangle with her husband and three young baseball players.

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Content

March 2018 Festivals in the Triangle

Welcome spring with these family-friendly festivals in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and surrounding towns.

Family Performances in the Triangle

Nothing beats theater and live shows for beauty, suspense, laughs and learning. Check out what's happening this month on local stages.

March 2018: Our Picks for Fun Family Outings

Carnival for the Kids, Jackie’s Puppapalooza Open Dog Show and Open House at NCSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

February 2018

Run Club meets every Sunday at 8 a.m. in Midtown Raleigh or Wake Forest. Stroller friendly; children invited. 

Cost: $10/run or $100/annual pass

Where:
Optimist Park Community Center/Greenways
5900 Whittier Drive
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Sponsor: FIT4MOM
Telephone: 919-348-0472
Contact Name: Missy Currin
Website »

More information

Join Mindful Families of Durham, a Buddhist-inspired spiritual community that supports area parents, caregivers, and their children in the practice of mindfulness and the understanding of the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Erwin Road
Durham, NC  27705
View map »


Sponsor: Mindful Families of Durham
Contact Name: Adam, Laura, Josh, Sumi
Website »

More information

Celebrate Black and African-American artists and stories. Ages 5-11 and caregiver.

Cost: Free

Where:
N.C. Museum of Art
2110 Blue Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

Design, build and test a straw rocket that flies as far as possible, then scale it up to build your own stomp rocket. In partnership with NC State Engineering Ambassadors.

Cost: $7 ages 1 and older

Where:
Marbles Kids Museum
201 E. Hargett St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Participants develop their naturalist skills and understanding of local nature. Ages 5-8 with parent. Register online.

Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Join New York Times bestselling author and distinguished scholar Carole Boston Weatherford in this celebration of the poetry of music and musicians — from North...

Cost: Free

Where:
North Carolina Museum of History
5 E. Edenton St
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Discover how animals prepare for cold weather and which ones hibernate during the winter months. Play games and take a short hike around the pond to look for signs of wintering...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Learn about volunteer opportunities at the museum, meet current participants and ask questions about the application process.

Cost: Free

Where:
N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences
121 W. Jones St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy a performance from Chapel Hill's own Apple Chill Cloggers, a dance troupe dedicated to the performance, preservation and proliferation of music and dance from the southern Appalachian...

Cost: $3/person

Where:
Century Center
100 N. Green St.
Carrboro, NC  27510
View map »


Website »

More information

Chase away your family's winter blues on a winter scavenger hunt. Meet at the Bobby G. Wilder Visitor Center to receive a list of winter items that you'll need to find as fast as...

Cost: $15/member family; $20/nonmember family

Where:
JC Raulston Arboretum
4415 Beryl Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27606
View map »


Sponsor: JC Raulston Arboretum
Telephone: (919)513-7011
Contact Name: Elizabeth Overcash
Website »

More information

Applause! Cary Youth Theatre presents the tale of Scraps, who intends to go her own way until she happens onto an adventure that broadens her understanding of herself and the world around....

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Cary Arts Center
101 Dry Ave.
Cary, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Ages 6-10 create an animal puppet from a sock and learn simple ventriloquism techniques to make it talk. Register online using course code #215497.

Cost: $3

Where:
Wilkerson Nature Preserve
5229 Awls Haven Dr.
Raleigh, NC  21714
View map »


Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-6764
Contact Name: Wilkerson staff
Website »

More information

Take the family to this play that explores what led to the Greensboro Sit-ins in the 1960s. A brief question and answer session, led by Pastor/Professor Charles Brooks, follows the play...

Cost: Free

Where:
Poplar Springs Christian Church
6115 Old Stage Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Sponsor: Poplar Springs Christian Church
Telephone: 919-559-6018
Contact Name: Shalon Maxile

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Celebrate Tell a Fairytale Day by enjoying a nature-themed fairytale or two. Create a fairy to take home or leave in the sensory and nature play garden’s fairy village....

Cost: $4/person

Where:
Durant Nature Preserve
8305 Camp Durant Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27614
View map »


Website »

More information

Examine animal mounts, skulls, tracks, scat and more and observe animals in action on an around-the-pond hike. Ages7-14. Registration required online. 

Cost: $6/child

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, AL
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

See the play produced by students, who created the set design, stage make-up, choreography, costumes and masks, and more.

Cost: Free

Where:
The ArtsCenter
300-G E. Main St.
Carrboro, NC  27510
View map »


Website »

More information

See a screening of "Fattitude," a feature-length documentary that exposes how popular culture fosters fat prejudice, and then offers an alternative way of thinking. Lindsey Averill and...

Cost: $25/person

Where:
Mission Valley Cinema
2109 Avent Ferry Rd .
Raleigh, FL   27606
View map »


Contact Name: Lindsey Averill
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Children delight in discoveries of shapes, colors and textures in nature. Ages 1 and older with parent. Registration required.

Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Children delight in discoveries of shapes, colors and textures in nature. Ages 1 and older with parent. Registration required.

Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Learn to prepare a meal inspired from Mexico. Register online. Choose course #109616.

Cost: $35/resident, $46/nonresident

Where:
Herbert C. Young Community Center
101 Wilkinson Ave.
Cary, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

See the play produced by students, who created the set design, stage make-up, choreography, costumes and masks, and more.

Cost: Free

Where:
The ArtsCenter
300-G E. Main St.
Carrboro, NC  27510
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Children delight in discoveries of shapes, colors and textures in nature. Ages 1 and older with parent. Registration required.

Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

A wonderfully kid-paced hour featuring music, play and dancing with toddler stars singing on the mic at Cotton's gently amplified & participatory music show. Children delight in...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Pump It Up Raleigh
10700 World Trade Blvd, #112
Raleigh, NC  27617
View map »


Sponsor: Pump it Up
Telephone: 919-828-3344
Contact Name: Owner/manager Kellie Paterson McHugh
Website »

More information

Kids enjoy an hour of yoga connected to the movie, "Sing," pizza and fun while parents enjoy a night out.

Cost: $35/child, $20/additional child

Where:
Little Guru Kids Yoga and Creative Arts
215 Glenwood Ave., Suite A
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Sponsor: Little Guru Kids Yoga
Telephone: 919-720-4921
Contact Name: Jen Bluestone
Website »

More information

Learn about owls and take an evening hike in search of them and other nocturnal species. See what their homes looks like, and take home instructions on how to build an owl box....

Cost: Free

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Pkwy.
Morrisville, NC  27560
View map »


Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
Website »

More information

Enjoy a contemporary spin on Shakespeare’s whimsical tale of fairies, lovers and woodland mischief. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $10-$15

Where:
Kennedy Theatre
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Dr. Elliot Engel will examine the bizarre and turbulent life of Poe to uncover the roots of his unique genius. Using anecdotes, analysis, and large doses of humor, Professor Engel will bring to...

Cost: $27 general admission

Where:
Raleigh Moravian Church
1816 Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Sponsor: Joel Lane Museum House
Telephone: 919-616-8873
Contact Name: Lanie Hubbard
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Join Brier Creek Commons and the North Carolina Association of Educators to celebrate Read Across America with a Brier Creek Green Eggs & Ham Breakfast. Breakfast is $6 and begins at 9...

Cost: $6/person

Where:
Barnes & Noble, Brier Creek Commons
8431 Brier Creek Pkwy.
Raleigh, NC  27617
View map »


Sponsor: American Asset Corporation
Contact Name: Erin Tharpe
Website »

More information

Participants develop their naturalist skills and understanding of local nature. Ages 5-8 with parent. Registration required.

Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Ages 13 and older with parent learn to navigate the college admissions process. Register online. Choose course #110862.

Cost: $5/resident, $6/nonresident

Where:
Middle Creek Community Center
123 Middle Creek Dr.
Apex, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Take the family for a variety of activities and games including two sledding hills and plenty of snow for all the action. Also enjoy cornhole and life-sized chess or enjoy the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Waverly Place
Cary, NC  27518


Website »

More information

Kite lovers can enjoy a day of kite flying, contests, music, concessions and more. All ages. Registration begins at 12:30 p.m. The rain date is March 4.

Cost: Free

Where:
Bond Park
801 High House Rd.
Cary, NC  27511
View map »


Website »

More information

Select Sitters provides an opportunity for parents to meet with and have short 4-5 minute interviews with 8-10 pre-screened babysitters. All sitters in attendance have been interviewed, have...

Cost: Free

Where:
Snickerdoodles
3721 Lynn Rd #112
Raleigh, NC  27613
View map »


Sponsor: Select Sitters
Telephone: 919-561-6233
Contact Name: Kara Varnell
Website »

More information

Explore the historic heart of downtown Raleigh on a walking tour of Fayetteville Street. Tours highlight the people, places, architecture and political movements that have shaped...

Cost: Adults (18+) $10; Youth (7-17) $4; Children (6 & under) Free.

Where:
City of Raleigh Museum
220 Fayetteville St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy a contemporary spin on Shakespeare’s whimsical tale of fairies, lovers and woodland mischief. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $10-$15

Where:
Kennedy Theatre
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Learn about outer space and extraterrestrial life. Ages 7-12 with family.

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Morehead Planetarium & Science Center
250 E. Franklin St.
Chapel Hill, NC  27514
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy dance performances, community vocalists, a pre-show princess gathering, silent auction and more. Proceeds benefit the Me Fine Foundation, a local organization designed to provide...

Cost: $12/adult, $10/child

Where:
Stewart Theatre
2610 Cates Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27695
View map »


Sponsor: Stage Door Dance Productions
Telephone: 919-720-3036
Contact Name: Chasta Hamilton
Website »

More information

Enjoy a contemporary spin on Shakespeare’s whimsical tale of fairies, lovers and woodland mischief. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $10-$15

Where:
Kennedy Theatre
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Online registration opens for PAGE of Wake County's Super Saturday event on April 28, which features enrichment workshops for gifted students. Register for morning sessions, 10 a.m.-noon...

Cost: $20-$25/session

Where:
, NC


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit Module

Magazine

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Directories

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Annual Guides

Education Guide

The 2017-18 Education Guide offers 660 education resources in the Triangle, including area preschools, private schools, public school systems, charter schools, boarding schools and academic resources.

The Triangle Go-To Guide

Our debut Triangle Go-To Guide connects you to family fun resources across the Triangle. Plus, find out who our 2017 Readers' Favorites are.