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Keeping Kids Safe from Sports Injuries

June 20, 2019

The National Center for Sports Safety estimates that there are more than 3.5 million sports-related injuries every year.

The good news is that most injuries are preventable. And the benefits of sports participation are great – from boosting kids’ confidence and self-esteem to better physical and emotional wellbeing. Riverside Medical Clinic Sports Clinic is rooting for you and ready to help reduce your child’s chances of being sidelined. Here’s what you need to know to stay safe.

How hard should kids train?

Poor training techniques are one of the main reasons kids can get hurt. To avoid overuse injuries, experts recommend the 10% rule. That is, the amount of time children spend training can be increased 10% each week without risking injury. For example, if a child runs 20 minutes three times a week, he or she can safely add 2 minutes and run 22 minutes the following week.

The problem is that there’s so much emotion attached to sports that it’s easy for everyone to get carried away. Children love seeing how much their performance pleases their parents and coaches. Unfortunately, that also makes them reluctant to say anything when they’re not feeling well. Parents will have to be extra sensitive to possible signs of overtraining. Look for changes like these:

  • Lack of motivation to practice
  • Decreased ability to achieve goals
  • Slower times in distance sports
  • Getting tired easily
  • Irritability and unwillingness to cooperate with teammates
  • Pain – especially joint pain that lasts longer than two weeks

Often, parents and coaches think the solution is to train harder to overcome these “setbacks.” However, more training leads to injuries because their bodies can’t recover from the physical demands. Please see a doctor as these changes in performance and attitude may be the beginnings of a physical injury.

Make sure your child is protected

• 62% of injuries happen at practice. Insist that coaches have first aid training and there is always a first aid kit available.

• 50% of injuries are direct to the mouth. Do you know what to do if your child’s tooth is knocked out? More than 85% of permanent teeth (not baby teeth) that are put back into the socket within 5 minutes will survive. Here’s what to do:

• Rinse off dirt or debris with saline or tap water (do not try to “sterilize” or scrub it)

• Carefully reinsert the tooth back into the socket

• Have your child bite down on a clean towel to keep the tooth in place

• If you can’t reinsert the tooth, put it in a container of cold milk (not saline or water) and get to a dentist immediately. The longer the tooth is outside of the mouth, the less chance it has to survive.

• Ask about the weather policy of your child’s league. Are your children practicing and playing in dangerous weather conditions?

• Make sure your child stays hydrated and receives a proper warm up and cool down. Stretching gets the body ready for exercise and is essential to recovering after a workout.

The sports physical

To make sure your child is physically fit to play, he or she should go for a sports physical. In addition to revealing your child’s strengths and weaknesses, the doctor can help you determine whether your child is physically and psychologically ready. Riverside Medical Clinic’s Sports Clinic is an excellent resource for this. Then you and your child can decide which sports are appropriate for his or her age and size.

Contact the team at Riverside Medical Clinic Sports Clinic to schedule your sports physical. Call 951-782-3602 or go to to find the location near you.

Riverside Medical Clinic