Sports Trauma and Overuse Prevention

The Problem

  • 30 million children participate in organized sports
    (Source: Safe Kids USA)
  • Participation in high school athletics is increasing, with more than 7.3 million high school students participating annually (Source: National Federation of State High School Associations)
  • High school athletics account for more than 2 million injuries annually, including 
    • 500,000 doctor visits 
    • 30,000 hospitalizations 

 (Source: Centers for Disease Control)

Young athletes are specializing in sports (and positions) at an earlier age, with more than 3.5 million children under the age of 14 treated annually for sports injuries.
(Source: Safe Kids USA)

Immature bones, insufficient rest after injury, and poor training and conditioning contribute to overuse injuries.

Overuse injuries account for half of all sports injuries in middle school and high school.
(Source: Safe Kids USA)

The Lasting Problem

A child’s history of injury is…..

  1. A risk factor for future injury during both their youth and adulthood.
  2. A contributor to long term degenerative diseases, such as osteoarthritis.

70% of kids participating in sports drop out by the age of 13 because of:

    • Adults
    • Coaches
    • Parents

These children lose the benefits of exercise, teamwork and healthy competition!

What is Overuse?

Overuse is considered excessive and repeated use that results in injury to the bones, muscles or tendons involved in the action.

Why are Injuries on the Rise?

  • Immature bones
  • Insufficient rest after an injury
  • Poor training or conditioning
  • Specialization in just one sport
  • Year-round participation

What Can We Do to Prevent Overuse and Trauma Injuries?

Promote injury prevention on multiple levels, including:

    • Learning about the STOP Sports Injuries campaign and visiting for resources
    • Take the Pledge on the website to prevent injuries
    • Holding ongoing discussions about the importance of rest with athletes
    • Mandating pre-season physicals
    • Enforcing warm-up and cool down routines
    • Encouraging proper strength training routines

Additional tips:

      • Drink enough water based on activity and temperature levels
      • Educate athletes on proper nutrition for performance
      • Supervise equipment maintenance
      • Encourage kids to speak with an athletic trainer, coach or physician if they are having any pain.
      • Encourage participation for fun and limit emphasis on winning
      • Discourage early specialization
      • Treat symptoms of problems/injuries EARLY

This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific orthopedic advice or assistance should consult his or her orthopedic surgeon, or locate one in your area.