Let’s Slash Pediatric Sports Injuries

The numbers are in, and they are suitably grim: three-and-a-half millions kids ages 1-13 are treated for sports injuries every year. Many of these are minor scrapes and bruises, but many are not: far too many kids continue to sustain life-altering injuries to their ligaments, muscles, and brains.

As these numbers permeate the national consciousness, more people have begun stepping up to demand a standardized set of safety protocols that would apply across all the major youth sports. A task force has already begun drafting these very guidelines, and recently published some of the goals they are setting for the project:

The guidelines cover creating emergency action plans for sudden cardiac arrest, catastrophic brain and neck injuries, exertional heat stroke, potentially life threatening medical conditions, environmental issues such as lightning and access to medical services.

Ultimately the guidelines should also cover some of the injuries that I treat every day as a pediatric orthopedist in San Diego: sprains, strains, tears and breaks. Although there are some safety protocols built into various leagues, a definitive set of guidelines that cover broad issues such as sports specialization and mandated rest should be baked into the charter of every kids’ league nationwide.

To protect your kid from lasting sports injuries, visit the best pediatric sports medicine center in San Diego. Start with AOSM.

When Blindness Comes From Childhood Injury

Childhood injuries a priority here at the American Orthopedic Sports Medicine Center. When I see children who have suffered injuries in competitive sports or recreational play, often I discover that they’ve been caused by preventable circumstances.

This article highlights one of the most tragic consequences of childhood athletics: blindness. Sadly the ever-increasing intensity of these athletic contests has precipitated an upward trendline in these serious injuries. In extreme cases, the loss can be permanent:

“We believe that sports eye injuries are the largest cause of vision loss in children,” said Keith Gordon, vice-president of research at CNIB, a Toronto-based non-profit that provides support services for the visually impaired.

Because basic safety gear such as goggles remain comparatively rare, sports injuries in children during basketball and baseball can be devastating if the blow strikes close enough to the yee. This holds true throughout adolescence, and grows increasingly dangerous as the power of the competitors begins to outpace their reaction times.

I am proud to have been named one of the best pediatric orthopedists in San Diego. If your kid has suffered an eye injury or related sports injury and you want the best care in Southern California, contact my offices today.

Sports Injuries Are Preventable in Kids

This recent news item discusses the issue of sports injuries in young people, and outlines some of the “low impact” ways that parents, coaches and kids can help prevent them. It includes some common favorites such as hydration and stretching, as well as a conversation about learning good technique early, before bad habits can take hold.

But perhaps the most valuable thing young people can do to avoid lasting sports injuries is simply to stop: Stop playing that sport, stop performing that repetitive action – just stop, and let the body heal without the stresses of constant vigorous activity:

Resting is also important. Health experts say overuse is a common cause of injury that can have long-term effects as the athlete gets older. “We hear a lot about little league shoulder and little league arm, even tennis elbow, and those kinds of things are overuse injuries. A lot of times those growth plates get disturbed and you’re still as a child growing and you’re injuring those limbs,” said Tesoro.

My pediatric orthopedic practice sees kids of every age with these injuries, and we tell parents that rest is by far the most important prescription. As injuries become more chronic and severe, other interventions such as steroids and surgery may become necessary, but in the vast majority of cases, you can avoid these aggressive measures altogether by avoiding overuse, and just being a kid for a little while.

Trust me, they won’t mind.

Help for Autistic Children Undergoing Orthopedic Surgery

As a San Diego pediatric orthopedist, I spend a lot of time with parents and their children to create a calm environment, build clear expectations and establish a bedrock reservoir of trust.

Although some children face surgery unafraid, many struggle with anxiety. Generally autistic children fall into the latter group, which is why it is edifying to see articles like this one helping to spread the word about better methods for calming these kids:

The studies also recommended including caregivers as “interpreters” of patients’ needs because the children often cannot communicate for themselves.

Doctors can make changes to the surgical or pre-surgical setting to match patients’ specific needs and preferences, the study also concludes. For example, hospitals can bring in a service dog to calm the patient the first time they’re introduced to the surgical setting.

It may also be helpful to let the patient get used to the staff and the setting before surgery as a type of “rehearsal” and to give the patient as many choices and distractions as possible, the study team writes.

There’s lots more in the article, including good ideas about removing unnecessary equipment, dimming the lights, and working out a narrative that makes sense of the procedure within a more appealing and decodable story.

For the best pediatric orthopedist in San Diego, don’t hesitate to contact the AOSM offices today.