Strategies for Preventing and Coping With Youth Sports Injuries


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When it comes to the safety of our children, we all want the best care possible for them. During or after a sporting event, however, a doctor or professional is not always available. Parents and coaches are often relied on to make an initial medical decision. As parents prepare for the spring sports season, from lacrosse and track to soccer and softball, it’s important to understand basic safety protocol to keep young athletes safe and as injury-free as possible. So, what health care knowledge should you know as your kids get in the game?

1. Know the common injuries in your child’s sport.

No matter what sport your child plays, he or she is at risk of suffering an injury. However, not all injuries are created equal, and some injuries appear to be more common per sport. For example, according to the United States Soccer Federation, ankle sprains account for 16-29 percent of all soccer-related injuries. Diagnosing your child’s injury is easier when you know sprains or strains are common in soccer as opposed to playing the guessing game.

2. Encourage your child to play multiple sports.

Overuse injuries, such as tendonitis or irritation of the growth plates, are common in children — especially if they play the same sport year-round. When any athlete plays one sport for an extensive period, he or she uses the same muscle groups and tendons repetitively. Over time this creates additional stress on that body part. Although playing year-round allows your child to stay competitive, repeated stress to certain areas can lead to more serious injuries down the road. Studies also show multi-sport athletes are much more likely to become professional athletes. Multi-sport athletes use different muscle groups and learn different types of coordinated movements, which expand their skill sets. Encourage kids to be involved in many different sports.

3. Warm up before sports activity.

One of the most important tactics to staying injury-free is ensuring your child warms up his or her muscles before any sporting event. Simply jogging in place increases body temperature; muscle temperature and blood flow to the muscles. Those benefits decrease the risk of strains and sprains, common injuries suffered by young athletes, and allows for improved muscle elasticity during play. A common misconception is to immediately stretch before beginning physical activity. However, stretching is most effective after the muscles have been adequately warmed-up.

4. Never underestimate the possibility of a concussion.

A common medical condition evaluated on the sideline is a concussion, which should never be taken lightly. Concussions occur when the functioning of the brain is interrupted due to a whiplash or direct impact to the head. While most concussions are self-limiting and non-life threatening, the risks of a second injury during a concussion can be very serious, and even fatal. One of the difficulties with concussions is that its symptoms are vague. Dizziness, headaches and nausea are common presenting symptoms. Parents and coaches should not focus on diagnosing concussions but rather whether they suspect a concussion. If you suspect a concussion, remove that child from play and have them assessed further. Some initial screening tests can include:

  • Are you feeling nauseous/dizzy?
  • Are you experiencing changes in vision?
  • Do you have a headache or is your head hurting?
  • Do you feel slowed down on the field?

Once you’ve asked questions regarding symptoms, ask questions dealing with current or recent events.

  • Who did you play last week?
  • What was the score last week?
  • Where are we?
  • What is the score of the game?

If the athlete has symptoms or any abnormalities remove him or her from play until he or she is evaluated by a health-care professional. In most cases, you do not need to take your child to the emergency room, but you should certainly keep an eye on him or her. If your child is acting normally, let him/her rest. However, you should immediately head to the emergency room or call 911 if there are significant changes in vision, facial drooping, repetitive vomiting, or decreasing responsiveness or alertness.

If you ever need a reminder on concussion protocol, there are several free apps available that provide quick access to concussion safety information. Check out the PAR Toolkit for helping diagnose/suspect a concussion and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s HEADS UP Concussion Safety app for how to appropriately fit the gear for your sport.

5. Know when to take your child to the doctor.

A question that most parents ask is, “How do I know if I should bring my child to the doctor or just take them home?” As a rule of thumb, parents should look for two symptoms — loss of motion and swelling. If your child’s limb is swollen, immovable or both, it’s time to make a trip to the doctor. Something as simple as a jammed finger can really be a broken bone.

6. Rehab, rehab, rehab.

At Raleigh Orthopaedic, we offer programs to our patients that strengthen musculoskeletal injuries through therapy, but we always encourage at-home treatment. The acronym RICE stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation. RICE is an effective way to initially treat a sports-related injury, both on the sidelines and at home, although the order of implementation is often debated. I recommend that parents immobilize the injury immediately as well as ice and elevate it to avoid swelling while awaiting medical evaluation.

Once your young athlete slowly begins to heal, it will become time to figure out the best time for him or her to enter back into competition. Something to be aware of is just because an injury is still painful, it does not mean your child is not ready for play. Rehab is about regaining the motion and strength of an injured body part. If your young athlete has a minor sprain, but is running back and forth comfortably, he or she may be ready to get back to play.

7. Use your parental wisdom.

You know your children better than any doctor, coach or sideline health personnel. Trust your instincts to recognize if they are in significant pain or if the injury is something you can watch. Pay attention to your child’s mannerisms, and see how often he or she uses the injured limb during play. Reduced use often indicates a larger injury. If you believe the injury is significant, take your child off the field and have him or her checked out by a medical professional.

Dr. Chad Greer, M.D., is one of Raleigh Orthopaedic Clinic’s primary care sports medicine, non-operative and concussion management physicians. Dr. Greer was the first orthopaedic-based non-operative sports medicine physician in Raleigh, North Carolina. He specializes in both pediatric and adult non-surgical orthopaedics, including sports medicine for all ages, non-operative fracture care, arthritis, sports injuries, concussion management and most musculoskeletal injuries. For more information, visit raleighortho.com.

 

 

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December 2019

Wear your favorite holiday attire and dine with Santa Claus. Enjoy a delicious brunch, stories and crafts, and take pictures with the jolly man from the North Pole. 

Cost: $10/child. Free for ages 2 and younger

Where:
Joyner Park Community Center
701 Harris Rd.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
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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
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Telephone: 919-387-5980
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Girls ages 5-12 take their favorite doll and have a creative time together preparing for the holidays. Register by emailing llpolkhouse2@gmail.com.

Cost: $22/attendee, $20/sister

Where:
Historic Polk House
537 N. Blount St.
Raleigh, NC  27604
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Telephone: 919-676-6368
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See dancers and a guitarist from Flamenco Carolina perform a Spanish style of music and dance.

Cost: $3/person

Where:
Century Center
100 N. Greensboro St.
Carrboro, NC  27510
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Ebeneezer Scrooge was visited by three spirits, but what about the next Christmas? With heartwarming excitement, discover how the Cratchit family has fared in the year that has passed since old...

Cost: Free

Where:
Wake Forest Renaissance Centre
405 S. Brooks St.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
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The Durham Medical Orchestra performs with special guest Joseph Alessi, principal trombone, New York Philharmonic.

Cost: Free

Where:
Baldwin Auditorium, Duke University
1336 Campus Dr.
Durham, NC  27705
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As a Christmas gift to our community and surrounding area, Wake Forest Presbyterian Church delivers the true Christmas story in a stirring virtual “walk” through Bethlehem to the stable...

Cost: Free

Where:
Wake Forest Presbyterian Church
12605 Capital Blvd
Wake Forest, NC  27587
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Sponsor: Wake Forest Presbyterian Church
Telephone: 919-556-7777
Contact Name: Meghan Reynolds
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Fun for the entire family, enjoy this wonderful, witty retelling of a classic fairy-tale. With a score consisting of well-known pop songs, follow Snow White and her Seven Dwarves as they try to...

Cost: $10-$60/person

Where:
Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
2 East South Street
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Sponsor: Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
Telephone: 919-996-8700
Contact Name: Blake Jones
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The choir presents its 49th performance on Handel's "Messiah."

Cost: Free

Where:
White Plains United Methodist Church
313 S.E. Maynard Rd.
Cary, NC  27513
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The first day of winter is right around the corner! Help us welcome the season by making a snow globe to take home. We will bring the materials if you bring the imagination! For all ages (adult...

Cost: For all ages (adult accompaniment required for all children); FREE. Registration

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd
Apex, NC  27529
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Cost: Free

Where:
Harris Lake County Park
2112 County Park Dr.
New Hill, NC  27562
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Sponsor: Harris Lake County Park
Telephone: 919-387-4342
Contact Name: Joanne St. Clair
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Cost: $9/adult, $3 ages 12 and younger

Where:
Cary Arts Center
101 Dry Ave.
Cary, NC  27511
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Dan the Animal Man brings some of his animals from his vast collection to entertain all ages. 

Cost: $3/person

Where:
Century Center
100 N. Greensboro St.
Carrboro, NC  27510
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Help find candy canes hidden in Bond Park before the Grinch turns them green. Ages 6-12. Registration required online. Choose course #127871. 

Cost: $10/child

Where:
Bond Park
801 High House Rd.
Cary, NC
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Embark on a wild ride with favorite Disney characters Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and many others in this fun-filled getaway featuring unexpected hijinks and character interaction. Purchase tickets...

Cost: $15 and up

Where:
PNC Arena
1400 Edwards Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Website »

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Ages 1-5 and caregiver delight in the discoveries of nature. 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 »

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Get into the holiday spirit by decorating cooking, making a craft and enjoying a holiday children's show.

Cost: Free

Where:
Century Center
100 N. Greensboro St.
Carrboro, NC  27510
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Website »

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The Wake Forest Abilities Choir will present an evening of holiday music under the direction of director.

Cost: Free

Where:
Wake Forest Renaissance Centre
405 S. Brooks St.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
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Website »

More information

Embark on a wild ride with favorite Disney characters Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and many others in this fun-filled getaway featuring unexpected hijinks and character interaction. Purchase tickets...

Cost: $15 and up

Where:
PNC Arena
1400 Edwards Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Website »

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Celebrate pecans at the State Farmers Market.

Cost: Free

Where:
State Farmers Market
1201 Agriculture St.
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Cost: free

Where:
Orange County Main Library
137 W Margaret Ln
Hillsborough, NC  27278
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Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
Telephone: 919-245-2539
Contact Name: Libbie Hough
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Cost: For all ages; FREE. Registration is required for everyone, and adult accompanime

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd
Apex, NC  27529
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Telephone: 919-662-2850
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Cost: Free

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Raleigh, NC


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Bundle up and enjoy an evening around the campfire learning about creatures of the night and listen to Native American tales about some of our favorite nocturnal animals. Roast marshmallows and go...

Cost: Free

Where:
Harris Lake County Park
2112 County Park Dr.
New Hill, NC  27562
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Sponsor: Harris Lake County Park
Telephone: 919-387-4342
Contact Name: Joanne St. Clair
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Kids ages 5-12 enjoy indoor activities while parents enjoy a night out. Register online. 

Cost: $30/resident, $45/nonresident

Where:
Halle Cultural Arts Center
237 N. Salem St.
Apex, NC  27502
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Wear white clothing and play games, tumble and dance. Enjoy pizza, drinks and more. Ages 5-10. Registration required online. Choose course #127487.

Cost: $18/child; $28 for two children per family

Where:
Middle Creek Community Center
125 Middle Creek Ave.
Apex, NC  27539
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Friday, December 13, 6:00pm, at both the Millbrook and Wake Forest Campuses. Put on your Christmas jammies, grab a blanket and come out for a  festive night to watch the classic animated...

Cost: Free

Where:
Crossroads Fellowship
2721 E Millbrook Road
Raleigh, NC  27604
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Sponsor: Crossroads Fellowship
Telephone: 919-981-0222
Contact Name: Lorraine Entwisle
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Cost: $18 per child per workshop

Where:
1058 West Club Blvd
Durham, NC  27701
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Telephone: 919-560-2726
Contact Name: Lauren Tannenbaum
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Embark on a wild ride with favorite Disney characters Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and many others in this fun-filled getaway featuring unexpected hijinks and character interaction. Purchase tickets...

Cost: $15 and up

Where:
PNC Arena
1400 Edwards Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

Sing along with the band as they perform holiday favorites of Christmas, Hanukkah, the winter solstice and more. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Cary Senior Center
120 Maury O'Dell Place
, NC  27513
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Celebrate the love and joy that this season brings by creating art inspired by a Christmas tree. Register online. Choose course #126761.

Cost: $32/resident, $42/nonresident

Where:
Cary Arts Center
101 Dry Ave.
Cary, NC  27511
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Website »

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Give rugby a try. Take part in tag rugby pick-up games every Saturday morning at Baileywick Road Park, near the Second Shelter.  No experience necessary. All ages. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Baileywick Road Park
9501 Baileywick Rd
Second Shelter Field
Raleigh, NC  27615
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Sponsor: Raleigh Redhawks Rugby
Contact Name: denise travis
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Our Reindeer Romp is open to the entire community and our Girls on the Run families. So join us! Celebrate as nearly 1,000 girls reach their end-of-season goals – the finish line is only the...

Cost: $30 - $35

Where:
Koka Booth Amphitheater
8003 Regency Pkwy
Cary, NC  27518
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Sponsor: Girls on the Run of the Triangle
Telephone: 919-401-6307
Contact Name: Jamie Botta
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Ages 5-12 make a picture frame for the holidays. Snack provided. Register online. 

Cost: $30/resident, $45/nonresident

Where:
Halle Cultural Arts Center
237 N. Salem St.
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Ages 1-5 and caregiver delight in the discoveries of nature. Register online. 

Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
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Telephone: 919-387-5980
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Travel with us to Puerto Rico with books, games and arts and crafts!  Join the staff of ISLA (Immersion for Spanish Language Acquisition) for a fun filled hour! Best for ages 3 and up with a...

Cost: Free Gratis

Where:
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137 W Margaret Ln
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Telephone: 919-245-2539
Contact Name: Libbie Hough
Website »

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Embark on a wild ride with favorite Disney characters Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and many others in this fun-filled getaway featuring unexpected hijinks and character interaction. Purchase tickets...

Cost: $15 and up

Where:
PNC Arena
1400 Edwards Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

One ticket admits the entire family to decorate a special gingerbread house. Supplies provided. Workshops available at 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Allergy-free workshop available at 11 a.m....

Cost: $40

Where:
Family Preschool
4907 Garrett Rd
Durham, NC  27707
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Sponsor: Family Preschool
Telephone: 919-402-1500
Contact Name: Sue Henson
Website »

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Family Wildlife Series: Holiday Habitat Helpers Saturday, December 14, 2-3 Attract winter wildlife to your backyard by providing or improving their habitat.  Create simple outdoor decorations...

Cost: Free

Where:
Blue Jay Point County Park
3200 Pleasant Union Church Rd
Raleigh, NC  27614
View map »


Website »

More information

Embark on a wild ride with favorite Disney characters Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and many others in this fun-filled getaway featuring unexpected hijinks and character interaction. Purchase tickets...

Cost: $15 and up

Where:
PNC Arena
1400 Edwards Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

Embark on a wild ride with favorite Disney characters Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and many others in this fun-filled getaway featuring unexpected hijinks and character interaction. Purchase tickets...

Cost: $15 and up

Where:
PNC Arena
1400 Edwards Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

Join us as we watch for meteors during the Gemenids Meteor Shower. Local astronomers will help us observe these shooting stars and other phenomena in the night sky. As a bonus we may see or hear...

Cost: Free

Where:
American Tobacco Trail
1309 New Hill-Olive Chapel Rd.
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: Harris Lake County Park and the American Tobacco Trail
Telephone: 919-387-4342
Contact Name: Joanne St. Clair
Website »

More information

Favorite Christmas songs are presented in authentic Nashville country style with dazzling guitars and fiddles along with soaring harmonies. Purchase tickets online. 

Cost: $25/person

Where:
Wake Forest Renaissance Centre
405 S. Brooks St.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
View map »


Website »

More information

See the choir perform beloved Christmas songs with guest vocal group AVANTE. Purchase tickets online. 

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Cary Arts Center
101 Dry Ave.
Cary, NC  27511
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Website »

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