Break Point!

Volume 1, Issue 2 View the Archives April, 1998
Break Point Gets Ready for Spring Sports Activities
Sports Related Injuries
Protect Your Vision
Coaching Responsibility - Focus on Coaching Education
Prevention Web Sites of the Month
Next Month in Injury Prevention

Break Point Gets Ready for Spring Sports Activities

Kathy O'Day
Loyola University Burn and Shock Trauma Institute
Spring is right around the corner and that means more children will be participating in sports activities both organized or at the playground. This month in Break Point! We will cover two of April's upcoming events: National Youth Sports Injury Prevention Month and Sports eye safety month. These two topics are getting much attention from organized groups around the country, including the AMA (American Medical Association), The American Academy of Ophthalmology and the U.S. Olympic Committee. As more children enroll in sports activities, the number of related injuries will continue to climb.

Break Point is produced by Loyola University, Burn and Shock Trauma Institute Injury Prevention Program. Please call us at (708) 327-2455 with any comments or questions.

Sports Related Injuries

Focus on Protecting our Youth
 Sports participation is a major cause of injury among our youth and that is why April has been declared National Youth Sports Injury Prevention Month. Many people have heard the phrase "an old football injury" and disregard it as passing of our youth, but sports activities are the second most frequent cause of injury for both males and females. With the increase of park districts and schools expanding their youth sports programs comes and increase in sports related injuries. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission , three to five million children each year seek treatment in hospital emergency departments from sports related injuries. Most of these injuries are preventable. Some of the reasons children may sustain injuries are:
  • Individual risk factors ( such as: undiagnosed or diagnosed health disorders, obesity, lack of proper physical conditioning)
  • Poorly fitting or inadequate equipment
  • Grouping children according to age and not by size
  • Lack of warm up and cool down exercises
Peter T. Katzmarzyk, Institute for the Study of Youth Sports at Michigan State University, has some stretching tips that can be incorporated into any physical routine.
  • Use slow, static stretching techniques in which the muscle is stretched at the end of its range of motion. A good approach is to "stretch to the point of discomfort and hold this position".
  • Include at least one exercise for each major muscle group of the body in a flexibility program.
  • Warm up sufficiently before stretching, as "cold" muscles are easily torn and damaged. Light aerobic exercise and sport specific activities are recommended as appropriate warm-up exercise.
  • Incorporate stretching exercises into a "cool-down" routine, as active cool-downs aid in muscle recovery and prevent muscle soreness.

Protect Your Vision

Sports Eye Safety a Growing Concern
Common sense would lead one to believe that workers who handle hazardous chemicals are at greatest risk of eye injuries. While workplace dangers do exist, there are strict OSHA guidelines to protect workers dealing with hazardous materials. The fastest growing number of eye injuries are a result of sports related activities. Approximately 30% of eye injuries among children younger than 16 years of age are sports related; 90% of all eye injuries are preventable. The use of protective eye gear when engaging in sports activities greatly reduces the chances for potentially debilitating eye injuries.
Beware of the dangers of eye injuries and develop good habits by:
  1. Wearing safety goggles (lensed polycarbonate protectors) for racquet sports or basketball.
  2. Batting helmets with polycarbonate face shields for youth baseball.
  3. Helmets and face shields approved by the U.S. Amateur Hockey Association when playing hockey.
  4. Be aware that regular glasses or contacts do not provide protection to the eye.

Coaching Responsibility - Focus on Coaching Education

Sports participation has become a major cause of serious injuries among children less than 16 years. The U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) has placed coaching education and training of coaches as priorities for the prevention of these injuries. The American Medical Association passed a resolution urging youth baseball and softball organizations to adopt policies for the use of protective equipment. They are also encouraging sponsors of organized youth sports activities to adopt written emergency and first responder plans.

The United States is the only country in the major sporting world that does not have a national coaching education program. There are no federal laws requiring coaching education at any level of competition. Less than 10 % of the 2.5 million volunteer coaches and less than one third of inter-scholastic coaches have had any type of coaching training.

According to Congressman William O. Lipinski's (D-IL) office in Washington, "there are over three thousand bills being introduced and none of them refer to youth sports safety." In Texas, Senate Bill 183 by Shapiro addresses with training programs for youth sports coaches. The bill would require the State to adopt minimum training standards for coaches, and standards to address the medical, legal, and first-aid aspects of coaching.

The American Red Cross, National Youth Sports Coaches Association and the American Coaching Effectiveness Program all offer Sports Safety programs.

Write or call the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago at:
111 E. Wacker Drive
Chicago. IL 60611
(312) 729-6100
Visit their Web site at: Take a class today and maybe save a life tomorrow.

Prevention Web Sites of the Month

American Academy of Pediatrics
American Medical Association
American Red Cross
Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute
Bikes and Blades: The Safety Scene
Children's Safety Network
Emergency Medical Services for Children
Illinois Emergency Medical Services for Children
International Inline Skating Association
National Program for Playground Safety
National SafeKids Campaign
National Youth Sports Coaches Association
Rollerblade, Inc.
Skating the Infobahn
Consumer Product Safety Commission
U.S. Olympic Committee

Coming Next Month in Injury Prevention

  • National Electrical Safety Month
  • National Bike Month
  • National Sake Kids Week (5/3-5/9)
  • National Emergency Medical Services Week (5/17-5/23)

The information on the Loyola University Health System (LUHS) Web site is for educational purposes only. It is presented in summary form in order to impart general information relating to certain diseases, ailments, physical conditions and their treatments. The information provided through the LUHS Web site should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease, nor is it a substitute for professional care. Should you have any health-care related questions or suspect you have a health problem, you should consult your health care provider.

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