Report: Many Young Athletes “Taking One For The Team”
By Mary Kuhlman, Indiana News Service
(Undated) – As young athletes are taking to the field, track and turf in Indiana for the beginning of fall sports, a new survey finds a growing number will likely face an injury during the season.
According to the research from Safe Kids Worldwide, an alarming number of young people are injured as a result of aggressive play, hiding injuries to stay in the game and parents who pressure coaches to keep them on the field.
Kate Carr, Safe Kids’ president and chief executive, said parents, coaches and players should have their own huddle before the season and set some ground rules to prevent injuries.
“You can discuss dirty play, hard fouls, how you’re going to deal with them,” she said. “You can discuss the training of a coach. You can discuss parental behavior on the sidelines. You can talk to athletes about the importance of speaking up.”
A law that went into effect this year in Indiana requires concussion-awareness training for high school and youth football coaches. It also imposes a 24-hour waiting period on young players who are suspected of suffering a concussion. It’s estimated that nationally, 3,400 children seek medical treatment every day for sports injuries.
More than half of athletes reported playing while injured, Carr said, and more than half of coaches said they felt pressured to put injured players back in the game. She said this behavior just leads to bigger problems down the road.
“The injury that you play with could be compounded in that game or in that practice,” she said. “A lot of injuries happen during practice, and that could result in a lifetime of a more serious challenge that you have to face physically, rather than missing a single game.”
Carr said proper technique, strength training and stretching all can help prevent injuries, and encouraged young athletes to only participate in one sport at a time to prevent injuries because of overuse.
More information on the research is online at safekids.org.