WV Healthwatch: Injuries on the Rise Among Young Athletes

Middle school and high school athletes are playing younger, playing harder, and playing more than their counterparts from previous generations. As a result, many of them suffer from sports-related injuries that threaten to debilitate them for the rest of their lives.

Trainers say that student athletes these days play hard and practice intensely, regardless of whether their sport is in season or not; such levels of repetitive physical activity may cause serious injuries. The incidence of overuse injuries in younger and younger children may be also be due to them specializing in a particular sport at an earlier age.

Many young athletes also make the mistake of trying to rush back into the starting line-up even before they’ve fully recovered from their latest injury. This is usually the result of a combination of teenage impatience and peer pressure, since team slots are highly contested in high school sports.

The most important factor in repetitive stress injury is getting enough rest. Icing the inflamed area correctly can also reduce the swelling and pain. Most importantly, seek the help of your family doctor for pain or injuries that last longer than a day or two; your family physician can also recommend a specialist for your injuries, if needed.