Sports Injuries Put Youth at Risk
June is ‘Sports Injury Awareness’ Month
St. Louis, MO –Nearly 996,000 youth injuries occur annually from family recreational activities such as biking, playground activities and roller sports. In addition, youth sports-related injuries such as basketball, football and soccer account for more than 775,000 hospital emergency room visits each year. With more than 30 million kids participating in organized sports in the United States and countless more engaging in other recreational activities, the Arthritis Foundation urges parents to understand the risk of these injuries leading to arthritis later in life.
“Today’s young athletes may become tomorrow’s osteoarthritis patients, unless parents and coaches take an active role in sports injury prevention,” said John H. Klippel, M.D., president and CEO, Arthritis Foundation.
According to one study, a single knee injury early in life can put a person at five times the risk for osteoarthritis (OA) later in life. A recent study found that of female patients who had obtained an ACL injury by age 19, 50 percent had radiographic knee OA by age 31. For men, the average age for an ACL injury is 24. By age 38, 40 percent of men who have had an ACL injury have knee OA.
Physical activity is important, as it strengthens the muscles that support and help stabilize the joints, reducing the risks for OA. However, certain preventative measures should be taken by coaches and parents to lower a child’s risk of arthritis from sports-related injuries. The Arthritis Foundation offers a few guidelines such as making sure equipment is in good condition and ensuring that training program or recreational activity gives attention to total body fitness.
For more information on sports-injury prevention and OA prevention see the Arthritis Foundation’s ‘Fact and React’ handout.