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Overuse Injuries in Kids

A warning for overuse injuries for youths,” was the headline of Jane Brody’s Personal Health Column in the April 5 th edition of the New York Times. Ms. Brody was referencing  the recent position paper by the National Athletic Trainer’s Association on prevention of needless injuries in children and adolescents participating in sports.

The NATA recommends that every child who is going to participate in sports should first have a thorough physical exam where the physician screens the child for any potential vulnerability to injury. When you consider that much of the current supervision of children in non-school-related sports is performed by what seems to be good natured, caring but inexperienced coaches and / or parents, it is easy to see how a child might get into an injury set up unknowingly.

The NATA has a list of symptoms of potential overuse syndrome which Ms. Brody outlined as follows :

  • A gradual onset of pain , or persistent pain presenting as an ache
  • No history of direct injury
  • Stiffness or aching after or during training or competition
  • Increasing periods  of time for pain to resolve
  • Point tenderness,visible swelling and missed training sessions as a result of pain or injury.

It seems that one of the operative words is “pain.” Please keep that in mind the next time your child says ” dad, my knee hurts me when I run during practice.” Time to be the sideline doc and find a real one.