Play Heads-Up Football to Avoid Getting Hurt09/11/10
SATURDAY, Sept. 11 (HealthDay News) -- As American boys
celebrate the return of their favorite professional and college
football teams, many will also play the sport themselves. But the
game doesn't come without the risk of potential injury.
With that in mind, a coalition of national health-care
organizations has decided to tackle the issue of sports injuries in
children with the launch of the "STOP Sports Injuries
"Traumatic injuries to the knee and shoulder, as well as concussions, are the most common types of [football] injuries we see on both the professional and youth levels," orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Matthew Matava, a team physician for the National Football League's St. Louis Rams and spokesman for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, said in an academy news release.
"Overuse injuries, especially in the beginning of the season, are another big issue with kids pushing themselves too far and too fast without proper conditioning."
The campaign noted that football injuries involving youngsters
is a "growing epidemic" that last year alone cost nearly $3 billion
Because many of these injuries are preventable, the campaign is
setting out to educate both the athletes and their parents and
coaches on ways to minimize risk.
First, young athletes should undergo a preseason physical to
assess their ability to play. Also, pre-play, low-impact warm-ups
to increase the heart rate are encouraged, as are post-play
cool-downs. Strength-training and stretching (at 10 seconds to 12
seconds per stretch to the point of resistance) are also
Players should drink enough fluids to prevent cramping and other
health problems, and should be outfitted with well-sized protective
gear such as helmets, pads, shoes, and mouth guards.
Football players are advised to tackle their opponents with
their head up, rather than leading with their helmet.
Finally, the campaign cautions young players not to play
"through the pain."
If an injury occurs, quick action is essential, particularly in
the case of a concussion. Coaches, parents and athletes should know
the symptoms of a concussion, Matava said.
Symptoms include problems with balance, vision, concentration,
and communication; dizziness; sleepiness; fatigue; headache; and
Any young player with signs of a concussion should be evaluated
by a medical professional before returning to play, according to
the American Academy of Pediatrics, which is part of the "STOP
Sports Injuries Campaign."
Other organizations in the campaign include the American
Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, the American Academy of
Orthopaedic Surgeons, the National Athletic Trainers' Association,
the National Strength and Conditioning Association, the American
Medical Society for Sports Medicine, the Sports Physical Therapy
Section, the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America and
SAFE Kids USA.
To learn more about preventing sports injuries, visit the
Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine coalition.
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