How common are sports injuries or injuries from overuse?

Each year, 1.35 million children are seen in emergency rooms for sports-related injuries, according to Safe Kids Worldwide.

Common injuries include sprains and strains, growth plate injuries (injuries that involve the tissue at the end of long bones), repetitive motion injuries and heat-related illnesses.

More serious injuries include concussions and other head injuries.

What can be done?

Prevention and proper training is key. Here are a few tips:

  • Enroll your child in organized sports through schools or community clubs with recreation areas that are properly maintained.
  • Organized sports or activities usually have coaches or dedicated staff members who have demonstrated a commitment to preventing injuries. Make sure coaches, staff or instructors are trained in first aid and CPR and have a plan for responding to emergencies.
  • Coaches and instructors should be well versed in the proper use of equipment and should enforce rules on equipment use.
  • Make sure your child has — and consistently uses — proper gear for his or her chosen sport or activity. This can help reduce the chances of being injured.
  • Help them learn and follow safety rules and guidelines for their sport.
  • Encourage your child to properly train for their sport or activity by following guidelines, rather than taking shortcuts or trying to use the sport to get them into shape too quickly.

What can be done to treat a sports injury or strain?

Treatments vary for sports-related injuries, based on the type of injury.  For sprains or strains, remember RICE, or rest, ice, compression and elevation.

For more serious injuries such as a head injury, fracture or dislocation of a joint, or ongoing pain or swelling, seek medical attention right away.