New rules and better equipment have improved football safety, but about one in three youth football players suffers injuries annually. This webpage provides information on the most common football injuries requiring treatment.
A concussion is a brain injury usually caused by a sudden jolt or blow to the head or neck. An athlete does not need to be knocked out or have memory loss to have suffered a concussion. In fact, most athletes who suffer a sports-related concussion DO NOT lose consciousness.
If an athlete has a concussion, you may observe that he:
An athlete with a concussion may have:
An athlete with signs of a concussion should be removed from play immediately and not allowed to return until evaluated by a doctor. Do not leave the athlete alone after a concussion.
Call for immediate medical help if your child displays:
Most athletes with a concussion will recover completely within a few weeks of the initial injury. Returning to play before completely recovering puts the athlete at risk for a more serious injury, long-term damage and even death.
Also known as brachial plexus injuries, stingers are caused by stretching the head away from the arm. Symptoms include:
These symptoms may be obvious or subtle, lasting a few seconds or a few minutes, and can last much longer in some cases. While symptoms are present, also watch for possible signs of concussion.
Do not allow the child to return to play until his strength and function on the injured side matches that of the non-injured side. If raising the arm over the head or moving the elbow causes pain or limited motion, force him to rest. If the symptoms persist, take your child to his doctor or a pediatric sports medicine physician.
Football players are at risk of dehydration if they don’t get enough fluid to replace what is lost through the skin as sweat and through the lungs while breathing. It is important to drink plenty of fluids before, during and after a workout or game. An athlete’s performance can be impacted by even mild dehydration.
Athletes should take a water bottle to school and drink between classes and during breaks so that they are well-hydrated before their workout. In addition:
Early signs of dehydration can be non-specific and include:
Signs of advanced dehydration include:
Athletes with any of these signs should rest and drink water or sports drinks. If the athlete doesn’t improve, feels dizzy or faint or has not had much urine output, he should be seen by a doctor. Seek emergency treatment if the child is disoriented, unable to drink or has pale skin.
These can affect all areas of the body. The recommended treatment response is the PRICE formula:
Protect the area with a sling or crutches, if necessary.
Rest the injured area.
Ice the injury for 20 minutes at a time. Do not apply the ice directly to the skin.
Compress the injured area with a wrap. Do not pull tightly, as this can cut off circulation.
Elevate the injured area above the heart, if possible.
Athletes should see a pediatrician or pediatric sports medicine physician if any of these symptoms are present:
Children ages 5 to 14 make up almost 40% of all sports injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms. Injuries in children are best handled by pediatric specialists trained in treating skeletally immature patients.
Taking the following steps can reduce your child’s risk of getting hurt. As a parent, you should:
Make sure your young athlete: