I guess I should get used to my boys being in physical danger if they are going to play sports. I have the impression that if they don't start playing young, they won't make the team when they're older. Is that really true or is it something parents just assume? Anyway, it seems to be a touchy subject. When should kids start playing sports and how often?
FROM NBC: They're playing younger, faster, and year round and now doctors are seeing more kids with adult injuries. "No parents wants their pee wee athlete sidelined with an injury, but it's happening. from ACL tears to over-use injuries, doctors are seeing patients as young as 7 and 8. But it turns out, simple moves can keep your athlete in the game." At the Sports Medicine Center for Young Athletes-the clientele is getting younger.
Dr. James Policy/Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon "The age in patients seems to be going down and down and down every year. we're now seeing 7 year olds with ACL tears which is something that was unheard of 10 years ago." Dr. James Policy specializes in pediatric orthopedic surgery. He says today's access to year round sports coupled with the push to specialize in one sport at a younger age makes kids more prone to injury. Dr. James Policy, Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon "They're going to be at higher risk for getting degenerative arthritis as adults." Abraham Barnes has a classic overuse injury, apophysytis.
Abraham Barnes, 8 years old:"It was like in the middle of my baseball season when after every game i started to limp a little. we didn't know what was happening." It's an inflammation of the growth plate in his heel...similar to achilles tenditis in adults. Bruce Valentine, Athletic Trainer: "Yeah especially with running, jumping, hopping, skipping all the things that kids who play sports would do. it's enough to take you out so you can't play anymore."
Mom Samantha says even before the injury, she tried to keep her son from playing too hard, but admits it's a struggle. Samantha Spielman, mother: "It's tough because he really loves sports, really enjoys it so it's tough to have to say we're only gonna do basketball or baseball this season." Whether it's cheerleading or football, physical therapists say balance the sport with another activity.
Michelle Cappello, physical therapist: "If you want to be a good soccer player, you don't have to play a ton more soccer. you need to, you know, cross train with it a different sport like swimming so you develop different muscle groups." And follow an injury prevention program, simple exercises to condition growing bodies. Often young athletes are coached by parents, who may not have proper training for pre-sports conditioning. "They're not fancy, they just balance out the muscle groups." Rest at least one day a week and limit high intensity workouts to an hour a day. dr. policy says don't forget sports should be fun. Dr. James Policy, Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon: "When they stop having fun, i think that's when they're more likely to be injured." Take it from Abe on his path to recovery. Abraham Barnes, 8 years old:"If you want to make your injury better you have to take it easy and do your stretches." now playing smarter so he can play longer.