Win a Winner!
Writers & Photographers
Berlitz Summer Camp
by Tracy Zaslow, MD
At the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Sports Medicine Program, physicians are noticing an increase in overuse injuries as more young athletes participate in sports with significantly greater intensity. Kids now regularly participate on multiple teams in the same season and don’t get all the rest they need. That increases the chance they will sustain acute and overuse injuries.
Overuse injuries are distinct from such commonplace trauma injuries as sprains, strains, broken bones and concussions. They are specific to the parts of the body most used during the athletic endeavor. These body areas can include the knees of athletes in sports that require running and jumping, such as basketball and soccer. For throwers, the elbow is susceptible to the baseball condition known as “little league elbow.”
How do these injuries occur? The overuse injury is caused by repetitive micro-trauma caused by chronic use of a specific body part coupled with an inadequate time for rest and healing.
But overuse injuries can be prevented if athletes and parents take precautions and familiarize themselves with the symptoms. Following these tips can help keep your child on the playing field and out of the doctor’s office.
• Don’t push through the pain. Young athletes should never be encouraged to “tough it out” and ignore pain. While pain may just be the sign of a sore, tired muscle, it can also be the first clue to an overuse injury. Players should stop and rest and gradually return to the activity if the pain subsides. If it persists, see your local sports medicine physician.
• Remember to rest. It’s under-rated, but rest is key to injury prevention and on-field success. The multi-tasking athlete who runs from school to practice to individualized training sessions, while still trying to keep up in school, needs to find time for eight hours of sleep and the occasional day off from the activity to stay injury free.
• Don’t forget to drink. Water is best for hydration during athletic activities lasting under an hour. Consider electrolyte-enhanced sports drinks for longer bouts of activity – more than an hour – and for repeated activity in the same day.
• Remember that moderation enables lasting athletic success. While there is often pressure, especially for the top players, to commit to multiple teams in a single season, parents should intervene and help the young athletes make the right choices. Pick the team that will give your athlete the best opportunity to hone skills, learn discipline, make friends and have fun. In this climate of increasing sports intensity for kids, more is not always better. The athletes playing on two or more teams at once are the ones who most often sustain overuse injuries. To avoid them, limit participation to one team at a time.
• Think of ice as your friend. While prevention techniques like stopping play and getting rest are key to avoiding overuse injuries, ice is helpful when applied to the affected area 15 to 20 minutes at a time.
• Build up gradually. Injuries occur in many players early in the new season when kids may try and do too much too soon. Increase practice and playing time gradually.
• Learn about surgery options. It’s comforting to know that there are advanced non-invasive and minimally-invasive techniques that lead to speedy recovery and a return to the sport, so don’t hesitate to consult a sports medicine physician.
• Consider motion analysis. Motion analysis analyzes individual movement patterns and lets experts recommend changes in technique to help young athletes avoid injuries and develop good training habits. The program is available at the John C. Wilson, Jr. Motion Analysis Laboratory in the Children’s Orthopaedic Center at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
Tracy Zaslow, MD, is a pediatric primary care sports medicine specialist and medical director of the Sports Medicine and Concussion Programs at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
Crazy Rumors Lip Balm|
Parenting Gem: Count the flavor not the calories when you treat yourself to Crazy Rumors lip balm gift packs ($15 for 4 or $30 for 6 lip balms, www.crazyrumors.com)
In the Air: 10 Things You Can Do To Help Reduce Pollution In L.A.|
Air pollution is a fixture of the SoCal landscape. And even as efforts to change this pay off and the air clears, we are learning about the dangerous effects of the pollution that still lurks. It will take all of us to truly make a difference.
Food Fighter Jennie Cook|
Find out how Jennie Cook and FoodForLunch.org became a part of Jaime Oliver's Food Revolution.
Hand-Washing Help For Your Little Duckie|
The Aqueduck faucet extender brings the water to your toddler at hand-washing time, saving your back!