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Preventing Sports-Related Injuries In Children

MIAMI, March 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Besides being a great way to keep healthy and physically fit, team sports provide kids with a wide range of useful life skills, including discipline, teamwork, sociability and self-esteem. But playing sports also puts children at risk of getting injured.

According to the National Center For Sports Safety, over 3.5 million kids under the age of 14 receive medical treatment for sports-related injuries each year. That's why it's important to be informed of the different types of sports-related injuries, their causes and what you can do to help prevent them.

Did you know that children ages 5-14 account for nearly 40% of sports-related injuries seen in emergency rooms? The Pediatric Sports Medicine Program at Miami Children's Hospital, which has been nationally recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the best pediatric orthopedics programs, is dedicated to supporting the treatment and prevention of sports injuries in growing athletes. The program is staffed by two of the region's top pediatric sports medicine specialists, Dr. Stephen Swirsky, DO and Dr. Craig J. Spurdle, MD.

Younger children are more susceptible to sports-related injuries than adults because they are typically less coordinated and have a slower reaction time. Broken bones, concussions and eye injuries can result from falls or colliding into another player. Sprains and strains are also among the most common types of sports-related injuries, and typically happen to children who play sports that involve repetitive movements such as swimming and tennis.

When it comes to children and sports, injuries are inevitable. But there are certain things you, as a parent, can do to lower the risk of your child suffering from a potentially dangerous injury.

Before you sign your child up for a sport, make sure they know how to play the game, especially since they may end up playing among other kids who are more experienced. Once your child feels comfortable enough to play with other kids, make sure they have all the proper equipment-helmets, shoes, padding, mouth guards and protective cups-and that all equipment is in good condition. Lack of proper equipment is to blame for many sports injuries in children. Meanwhile, enroll your child in a reputable sport program run by a school, youth center or church. Find a coach that is trained in first-aid and CPR, and one who encourages children to play by the rules.

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