Forrest General Hospital

FALL 2014

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2 4 S P I R I T O F W O M E N FA L L 2 014 w w w. s p i r i t o f w o m e n . c o m F A M I L Y L I F E SHUTTERSTOCK In addition, be sure your child wears shoes specifically made for his or her sport to help prevent tendonitis and stress fractures, recommends Dr. Daniel Dichristina, an orthopedic surgeon at Crouse Hospital, Syracuse, N.Y. 2. Focus on proper technique. In soccer, for example, there are right and wrong ways to head the ball, so make sure your children's coach is instructing them about the differences, says Dr. Bridgman. In football, using improper tackling techniques can lead to injury, so coaches should definitely be covering the proper way to position the body before children begin playing. Kids should also be coached to always warm up appropriately, says Dr. Knudson. "Just doing some simple stretches—leg stretches and bending and twisting—is the best thing to do to make sure the muscles you're using are primed and ready to go for the big activity," she says. A slow buildup to the season's rigors is crucial too, according to Dr. Dichristina. "Kids should do some pre- season work to build up endurance and get ready for the season so that the first day out it's not news to their body," he explains. He advises that children increase their efforts only 10 percent per week to avoid stress fractures. 3. Communicate early and often. A pre-season informational meeting with coaches to go over the safety policies of the school or club is a great idea, says Dr. Bridgman. The meeting can include general information on what the coach is planning to do to avoid concussions and other injuries. Some programs even have kids sign a concussion form so they are aware of the dangers and can try to be more cautious. "Meetings with parents and coaches are an opportunity for kids to see that safety precautions are not just some- thing Mom is saying, but something the coach and other players are concerned about too," says Dr. Bridgman. As a parent, "you are the advocate [for] your children, so make sure you're talking to the coach about what's best for your child, and talking to the child to make sure they know ahead of time that the goal is to have fun, and that pushing themselves too hard is not worth the long-term ramifications of an injury," says Dr. Knudson. "If you let kids know to come to you if they are in pain or get hurt, rather than continuing to play on, that will be ingrained in them from an early age." It's especially important to keep open a dialogue about muscle overuse when kids practice a sport year-round without any breaks, she says. While the American Acad- emy of Pediatrics doesn't recommend limiting the amount of sports activity, "if injuries are on a growth plate, that can do long-term damage," she says. 4. Pay attention when your kids are playing. It's important for parents to be present and involved in their children's sports play, says Dr. Bridgman. "You don't want to go overboard," he says, "but just by attending practices and games and watching children play, you should be able to see if the child is exhibiting obvious signs of dangerous habits, like leading forward with their head vs. their body in soccer." • (continued from page 23) What to do if you think your child has suffered a CONCUSSION: • Get medical attention for your child right away. • Keep your child out of play until a medical professional says it's OK to return. • Let your child's coach know about any previous concussions. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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