With FIFA worldcup the football fever has begun!! And has caught on with the school children too. Playing football can be a great way for children and teens to take part in a team sport and stay physically active. However, it is important for players, coaches and parents to understand that injuries can, and do, occur. Timely diagnosis and intervention for the injuries is of utmost importance. At the same time one also must not forget- “prevention is better than cure”
Understanding the opponent. What are the common injuries?
Traumatic injuries are most common in football because it is a high impact sport. Constant running around at variable pace & in haphazard manner combined with falls during tackle results mainly in various fractures, and sprained or torn ligaments. Over use injuries can occur from heavy training and conditioning.
The injuries can involve the:
Foot Is protected with shoes however the spikes are dangerous. During tackle landing on another player can cause serious foot injuries.
Ankle. Football demands running with the ball with sudden accelerations & decelerations. If ankle gets twisted the ligaments can get torn very badly. If the force is much more even fractures can happen. Such fractures are “non forgiving” as they involve physis (growing area of leg bone) & joint. Even though treated properly these injuries have potential to cause deformities & later on ankle arthritis.
Knee. Especially among young children, football is a leading cause for serious knee injuries. Common knee ligament injuries include the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and MCL (medial collateral ligament). Knee injuries can also affect the meniscus and cartilage in the joint. This can lead to early arthritis. The growth plate is weaker than tendons and ligaments.
Hip. Its the tendinous attachment around the hip which may cause trouble ifd amaged. Some times they can keep the player off the field for weeks together.
Shoulder. Shoulder dislocations and separations are uncommon in children. A shoulder separation is actually a sprain of the joint near your collar bone, known as the AC (acromio clavicular) joint. Tears along the tissue of the shoulder socket and unstable shoulders (partial dislocation) can also happen.
Head. Concussions are very common in football. Player can be injured from a direct hit to the head or from sudden jerking motions during a hit. A child with a concussion may have a headache, confusion, dizziness, nausea/vomiting, or blurry vision. Any player with signs of a concussion needs to be immediately removed from play, checked by a medical professional.
Heat Injuries. Because football practice often starts at the end of summer, heat injuries can occur. They can range from heat exhaustion to heat stroke.
Strategy of Prevention. Its always wise to be proactive and take necessary steps to prevent the occurrence of the injuries.
Use of Proper Equipment. It's important for kids to use proper equipment and safety gear that is the correct size and fits well. Ask your child's coach about the appropriate shoes, mouth guards, athletic cups and supporters, and padding.
Maintenance and Appropriateness of Playing Surfaces. Check that playing fields are not full of holes and ruts that might cause kids to fall or trip.
Adult Supervision and Commitment to Safety. Any team sport or activity that kids participate in should be supervised by qualified adults.
The team coach should have training in firstaid and CPR, and the coach's philosophy should promote players' well-being.. Be sure that the coach enforces playing rules and requires that safety equipment be used at all times. And make sure your kids play sports that match their skill level, size, and physical and emotional maturity.
Proper Preparation. Just as you wouldn't send a child who can't swim to a swimming pool, it's important not to send kids to play a sport that they're unprepared to play. Make sure that they know how to play the sport before going out on the field. Kids should be adequately prepared with warm-ups and training sessions before practices and before games. This will help ensure that they have fun and reduce the chances of an injury. They also should drink plenty of fluids and be allowed periods of rest during practices and games.
Self Discipline. Last but not the list. Children should be taught about the fairplay, sportsman spirit. Avoiding on field rough behavior, unnecessary tackles etc.
Here’s Our Team. Emergency Management.
Ice pack application
Splinting the injured part
Pressure over the bleeding area if any
Analgesic spray if required
Shift to hospital for further evaluation by a paediatric orthopaedic surgeon
Written by, Dr Rajeev Nirawane.
Paediatric Orthopaedic Surgeon has obtained Masters in Orthopaedics from LTMMC & LTMGH Sion Mumbai, a premier institute for medical education. His special interest is paediatric orthopaedics and received extensive training in the whole spectrum of Paediatric Orthopaedic Disorders including sports injuries. He practices out of Pune and is the director of Orange HealthCare. For more info, log on to www.orangehealthcare.in
Disclaimer : "This handout is made on standard medical guidelines and is purely informative. Not to be used for treatment. The handout is IP of TPN. Any commercial use or misuse by third party will invite legal action"
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