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Parents and Coaches: Kids’ Sports Injuries Increasing

October 5, 2007

Aberdeen, SD – Serious injuries are affecting young athletes more frequently and at younger ages, according to new research conducted at Texas A and M University's Health Science Center that was presented to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgery.

South Dakota health professionals say it's great for kids to be involved in organized sports, but they agree that serious injuries can befall those who overdo. The report finds a large percentage of emergency room visits are made by children with sports injuries. Wayne Washenberger is a physician assistant at Orthopedics Surgery Specialists in Aberdeen. He says part of the problem is that youngsters are still growing and developing, which can place them at greater risk of injury.

"There is a lot of conditioning that goes on throughout the year, which is a good thing. We see athletes that are in better shape these days. The problem is, many times they think that they can 'play through' very mild injuries. The fact of the matter is, this can lead to further, or worse, injuries."

Washenberger adds having high-quality safety equipment is also very important.

"I think it's important to pay attention to that, and not to skimp on costs with certain types of equipment. Anything that protects the head and the neck is very important, but also protection for the wrists, knees and joints that are in motion."

Washenberger encourages young people to get involved in sports, and reminds their parents and coaches to promote the types of exercise and conditioning that will help young athletes stay healthy.

David Law/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - SD