Sports Parenting 101: Keeping Kids in the Game for Life
On September 16, 2014, Carolina Parent hosted a live Facebook chat with American Institute of Healthcare & Fitness providers on effective sports parenting and keeping kids healthy and safe during sport activities. Here's a transcript of the conversation:
Carolina Parent: Welcome to the Carolina Parent and the American Institute of Healthcare & Fitness "Sports Parenting 101: Keeping Kids in the Game for Life” LIVE Facebook chat! Today we'll be talking with Dr. John Solic, M.D. of Triangle Orthopeadics; Jude Carr, PA-C, ATC of Carolina Family Practice & Sports Medicine; and Dr. Kyle Savage, Human Performance & Sports Psychology Consultant of Carolina Performance, about effective sports parenting! READERS: Ask a question as a comment below this post and don't forget to REFRESH your page! Welcome, experts! Onto the first question: Which youth athletes present with the most risk for excess physical stress or injury or psychological stress or injury?
American Institute of Healthcare & Fitness: This is Jude Carr. Physical stress is a product of over training and lack of recovery time. For athletes prone to this stress, it can be a combination of over training for several hours daily, training in one sport (lack of cross training), inadequate nutrition, and/or lack of sleep. Psychological stress in these athletes goes hand and hand.
American Institute of Healthcare & Fitness: Jude Carr here again....in addition...signs of athletes under excessive physical stress are: stress fractures, prolonged muscle soreness, and weight loss. Psychological factors may include anhedonia (loss of the desire for pleasurable activities), anger and frustration with athletic performance, and increased anxiety or depression.
Carolina Parent Magazine: Name a few ‘red flag’ symptoms that would direct you to a physician immediately. Depending on your practice, these might be physical indicators (physical injury from over training), psychological or physiological indicators (concussion management or return to play), or emotional indicators (too much stress from high performance athletics and competition), etc.
American Institute of Healthcare & Fitness: Jude Carr here. You have asked two very important questions. One deals with common signs of concussion and the other red flag concussion symptoms for emergency department referral. I will first address the common signs and symptoms of concussion.
American Institute of Healthcare & Fitness: Jude Carr here, PA-C with Carolina Family Practice & Sports Medicine. Some common signs and symptoms associated with concussion include headache, nausea, dizziness or balance difficulty, difficulty concentrating, vision changes, or feelings of ‘fogginess.’”
American Institute of Healthcare & Fitness: Jude Carr here...In addition Red Flag symptoms for emergency department referral for concussion included : headache that worsens significantly, slurred speech, repeated vomiting, seizure, prolonged loss of consciousness (greater than 30 seconds), significant neck pain associated with any weakness or numbness of the arms or legs, inability to recognize people or places or a child that looks drowsy and cannot be awakened or aroused.
Beth Poland Shugg: My daughter plays volleyball and will turn 13 in October. Many volleyball players wear ankle braces to prevent injuries. When should she start wearing ankle braces?
American Institute of Healthcare & Fitness: Jude Carr here answering for Beth Shugg...ankle braces are helpful in the prevention of chronic ankle sprains in volleyball, but are only adjunct to rehabilitative exercises to increase the strength of the supportive structures of the ankle. In other words, strengthening exercises would be paramount to preventing injury.
Beth Poland Shugg: OK thank you. So is there a magic answer for age? I know every child develops differently.
American Institute of Healthcare & Fitness: There is no "magic age" nor a "one size fits all". Ankle braces may be useful for chronic ankle instability at any age.
Carolina Parent Magazine: What is the most common injury and how do you avoid it?
American Institute of Healthcare & Fitness: Dr. John Solic here commenting for Triangle Orthopaedics. All youth athletes are at risk for various injuries with some variations based on the specific sport. Overhead and throwing athletes (tennis, softball, volleyball, baseball, swimming) are at a high risk for overuse injuries in the shoulder and elbow. Maintaining flexibility and strength in the shoulder can help prevent and acutely treat these injuries. The vast majority can be treated successfully with proper rest and rehabilitation. The “sleeper stretch” and “throwers 10” are two specific sets of exercises that should be employed as regular maintenance programs for overhead athletes.
Athletes involved in cutting and pivoting sports are at risk for both contact and noncontact acute injuries. This includes various sprains and strains of the muscles, tendons, and ligaments around the knee, ankle, and hip. Most of these can also be treated with appropriate rest and rehabilitation. ACL injuries are also extremely common in this population and there is some evidence that specific neuromuscular training programs can improve jumping and landing mechanics and decrease the incidence of these injuries.
Myra Wright: Last year, my 13-year-old son ran track and ended up with two stress fractures in his right foot that ended his season. What are some tips for avoiding that injury again? He has about five months to prepare for the upcoming season.
American Institute of Healthcare & Fitness: Myra, this is Dr. John Solic commenting for Triangle Orthopaedics. Runners tend to develop overuse injuries primarily in the lower extremity and most commonly in the knee and foot. Overuse injuries in the knee include “runners knee” (cartilage inflammation under the knee cap) and IT band friction syndrome. Both of these conditions can be treated with appropriate rest and condition specific stretching and strengthening programs.
American Institute of Healthcare & Fitness: Dr. Solic here again, Myra, we do recommend cross training in the off season.
American Institute of Healthcare & Fitness: Jude Carr from CFP&SM, commenting here Myra. Cross training in the off season might include playing a different sport, yoga, weight training or recreational activities.
American Institute of Healthcare & Fitness: Dr. Solic, Myra...you might want to also consider getting a functional movement screen. This test allows a trained physical therapist to identify flexibility issues and muscle imbalances that can lead to overuse injuries and can be prevented with a patient specific therapy program.
Carolina Parent Magazine: How do you help your child prepare for collegiate sports (if that is their goal)?
American Institute of Healthcare & Fitness: Kyle Savage here from Carolina Performance. Having been a college coach, my first recommendation is to seek the council of another collegiate coach or coaches in the sport your child is interested in pursuing. A college coach can help define what your child's goals and objectives should be.
Katina Baker Faulkner: Both of my sons play soccer year round, my youngest is a goalie (and yes, that is a scary thing to this mom! ) While bone fractures are common for goalies, I've also just come to realize that ankle sprains are quite common for goalies as well. Would you recommend ankle supports as a preventative measure? Also, although we really haven't experienced this yet, I understand the psychological stress from playing goalie can be a little overwhelming - what are some things we can do from a parent perspective to help manage this?
American Institute of Healthcare & Fitness: Katina, Kyle Savage here from Carolina Performance. I will be answering with respect to managing the psychological stress of being a goalie. Practicing visualizing a real game or competitive scenario with a positive outcome repeatedly can be helpful. Also equipping your child with slow rhythmic breathing techniques to manage stress can be helpful. Effective communication between the parent and coach can mitigate or prevent future stressors.
Katina Baker Faulkner: Thanks Dr. Savage - this is helpful!
American Institute of Healthcare & Fitness: Katina, Jude Carr here answering...ankle braces are helpful in the prevention of chronic ankle sprains in soccer, but are only adjunct to rehabilitative exercises to increase the strength of the supportive structures of the ankle. In other words, strengthening exercises would be paramount to preventing injury!
Dawn Field: My daughter complains of a popping in her wrist. She is a varsity cheerleader. I have had her regular dr. look at it and he just recommends a brace...is this something I should be worried about?
American Institute of Healthcare & Fitness: Dr. John Solic here. If the popping is not painful it is nothing to worry about. Non painful popping is common in many joints throughout the body. We only become concerned if it is painful. I would agree with the brace as a first line treatment if there is discomfort or pain related to the popping. Icing and over the counter anti-inflammatory medicine can be helpful as well.
Dawn Field: Perfect. I will ask her about pain. Thanks for the answer.
Sue Chen: My son used to be a distance runner. I couldn't convince him to get a good night's rest/sleep the night before a race. Does rest/sleep help prevent injuries
American Institute of Healthcare & Fitness: Sue, Jude Carr commenting here with CFP&SM. Proper hydration, nutrition, and sleep hygiene are three factors that work together to keep a child balanced while training for their sport. If they are lacking in any of these areas, the athlete’s performance tends to decline and risk for injury increases.
American Institute of Healthcare & Fitness: Sue, Kyle Savage here. I recommend that you keep a consistent bed time. Routines can help manage sleep patterns.
Sue Chen: Thank you. I'm forwarding your response to my son!
Carolina Parent Magazine: Mike from Raleigh asks, "I come from a family where there was not a significant emphasis on sports. In hindsight, I wish my parents did push me toward sports. Now that I’m a parent, what’s the line between encouragement and pushing?"
American Institute of Healthcare & Fitness: Mike, Kyle Savage here. Balance is managed by effective communication. Checking in with the your student athlete can help you determine the proper balance.
American Institute of Healthcare & Fitness: Jude Carr commenting here as well. Have your child set his or her own goals and emphasize their goals rather than your own. Focus on activity rather than any general sport.
Carolina Parent Magazine: Amy from Morrisville asks: "My kid is on a travel team and I am starting to hate/resent that weekends are being completely swallowed up. I’m trying to have a good attitude about it, but sometimes I feel this sport is taking away from my family life! Any tips?"
American Institute of Healthcare & Fitness: Jude here, tough question. Travel teams require significant resources no doubt. The main goal in youth sports is to have fun and learn life lessons that will assist them in the future. If you child enjoys the activity, the short term investment my be beneficial. Not to mention spending time with your child now can provide fond memories in years to come. They will not be this age forever.
Beth Poland Shugg: My daughter's volleyball club requires a baseline concussion test, in addition to the normal physical. I think this is a great idea. Are more sports clubs/organizations beginning to do this, and do you feel it's an important requirement for athletes?
American Institute of Healthcare & Fitness: Beth, Jude Carr commenting. CFP&SM Providers recommend all student athletes be baseline concussion tested prior to the start of their team sport. The test is done while the athlete is at their ‘norm’, and provides useful information in the event of a suspected concussion injury. This service is offered through the CFP&SM Concussion Clinic and can be an evaluative tool in measuring return to play readiness post-concussion.
Carolina Parent Magazine: I think we have time for one more question for our experts! "How do you prepare your child’s body to avoid repetitive motion injuries? Shoulder injuries are common in tennis are ankle injuries. Coaches don’t focus in strengthening muscles to avoid these types of injuries. They say it’s part of the game like blisters."
American Institute of Healthcare & Fitness: Dr. John Solic with Triangle Orthopaedics commenting. Overhead and throwing athletes (tennis, softball, volleyball, baseball, swimming) are at a high risk for overuse injuries in the shoulder and elbow. Maintaining flexibility and strength in the shoulder can help prevent and acutely treat these injuries. The vast majority can be treated successfully with proper rest and rehabilitation. The “sleeper stretch” and “throwers 10” are two specific sets of exercises that should be employed as regular maintenance programs for overhead athletes. Some good online resources for injury prevention and treatment include: stopsportsinjuries.org and sportsmd.com.
Carolina Parent Magazine: We think that about wraps it up! Thanks so much to American Institute of Healthcare & Fitness providers Dr. John Solic, Jude Carr and Dr. Kyle Savage for their time answering our questions! We could chat about this all day. For more information about AIHF and our experts, check out aihf.net.Thank you, again!
American Institute of Healthcare & Fitness: Thank you Carolina Parent! Providers at AIHF are dedicated to improving the lives of patients in the community by providing best-in-class, easily accessed, cost effective care. We integrate state-of-the-art medical care, exercise, nutrition, wellness and counseling services, personalized to assist individuals achieve optimum lifelong health through prevention, education, diagnosis, treatment, and research. Because families are important at AIHF, child care is complimentary during your medical or wellness appointment.
American Institute of Healthcare & Fitness: For more information please visit: aihf.net.