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Do Your Kids Play Sports? Here’s How to Keep Them Safe

September 13, 2019

Sports give your kid a chance to learn new skills, stay active and healthy, and enjoy being part of a team. But they also mean your child may occasionally get injured. Ellen Dean Davis, MD, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon with Atlantic Medical Group Pediatric Orthopedics, shares tips on how to prevent common sports injuries.

My child is signed up for sports. What do I need to know first?

Great! Sports are a good way for kids to stay active and healthy. The best way to ensure that your young athlete is as safe as possible while still having fun is to have the correct protective gear. Depending on the sport, you may need to purchase this on your own. Next, have a plan in place in case an injury occurs. Know where your closest urgent care is, and keep the AMG Pediatric Orthopedics office phone number in your cell phone: 973-971-7830.

What if my child gets hurt?

If an injury occurs, it’s important that your child stop playing and get checked out. You can be the first line of treatment. Rest and ice are a good place to start. If the pain remains or if you have any reason for concern, don’t hesitate to call the pediatric orthopedist for an appointment to be evaluated.

Should I head to the hospital?

Depending on the injury, hospitals may not always be the best option. If there is no obvious deformity or the injury is only slightly painful, you may want to skip the emergency room. Urgent care centers typically will X-ray your child on site and help determine the correct next steps. They also can provide temporary stabilization such as crutches, a knee immobilizer, or a wrist splint. They will then refer you to a pediatric orthopedist for further evaluation. You can also call AMG Pediatric Orthopedics. We often reserve same day or next day appointments for urgent injuries, and we can help your child get on the road to recovery quickly.

What if my child breaks a bone?

If your child has a broken bone, ask for a pediatric orthopedist. Children’s bones are different from adult’s bones, and often require special attention. Many times, they can be treated with less invasive techniques.

Do most urgent care facilities have an orthopedic surgeon?

Most urgent care facilities do not have an orthopedic specialist on staff. They are great at initiating a work-up and stabilizing an injury. However, they can not replace the type of evaluation and treatment an orthopedic specialist can offer.

If it’s not a break but my child feels achy and sore, what should I do?

When in doubt, RICE is a great place to start. Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. If the pain remains after a few days of this regimen, call AMG pediatric orthopedics for an appointment. Even though it’s not broken, it may still require specialized attention.

What are some of the most common injuries you treat and what is your advice for avoiding them?

I treat all orthopedic injuries. Some examples are sprains, strains, broken bones, sports injuries, and playground injuries. Proper protective equipment and supervision are important. But many times, injuries are just unavoidable. And when they happen, we are here to help.

What advice should I give my child?

Above all, know your limitations. Children – teenagers in particular – tend to enjoy the adrenaline rush that comes with increasing speed, trying a new trick, or being competitive with friends. Prevent injury by knowing your skill level and trying new things slowly and in a safe environment. Also, take breaks and don’t play when you are fatigued. That’s when accidents happen.