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How to Stop Sports Injuries: Keeping Kids in the Game for Life

Silver Cross and Local Sports Medicine Physician Hosts Free Program Nov. 10 for parents 

Joliet, IL (October 18, 2010)— Currently, 30 million U.S. children participate in organized sports. Unfortunately, high school student athletes account for 2 million injuries, 500,000 doctor visits and 30,000 hospitalizations every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Join Dr. Jason Hurbanek, orthopedic surgeon, for a free program - Stop Sports Injuries: Keeping Kids in the Game for Life - on Wednesday, Nov. 10 at 6:30 p.m. at the Silver Cross Hospital Conference Center, 1200 Maple Rd., Joliet. Dr. Hurbanek will discuss the prevention and treatment of the most common injuries in children playing baseball, basketball, football, soccer and other sports. To register to attend visit www.silvercross.org or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).

All sports have a risk of injury; some more than others. In general, the more contact in a sport, the greater the risk of injury.

Most sports injuries involve the soft tissues of the body, not the bones. However, the areas where bones grow in children are at more risk of injury during the rapid growth phase of puberty.

The main types of sports injuries are sprains (injuries to ligaments) and strains (injuries to muscles). Many injuries are caused by overuse. Overuse is when a child pitches too many innings, for example. This places stress on the tendons, joints, muscles, and bones, and can cause damage. Concussions occur after an injury to the head or neck.

“Most people who experience sports injuries have either a history of injury or over do it while playing sports,” said Jason Hurbanek, M.D., orthopedic surgeon with Silver Cross Hospital. “Previous injuries often develop into chronic problems if they’re not properly and thoroughly rehabilitated.”

When to seek help
“Never try to “work through” a severe pain of a sports injury,” said Dr. Hurbanek. “Stop playing or exercising when you feel any harsh pain.” 

Depending on the level of your injury, it may be safe to treat the injury at home with RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) for at least 48 hours. Although some injuries should be seen by a doctor right away.

“A child should see a doctor if the injury causes severe pain, swelling or numbness, you can’t put weight on the area, an old injury hurts or aches, or if an injury swells and the joint doesn’t feel normal or feels unstable,” said Dr. Hurbanek.

How to reduce risks

  • Wear the right gear. Appropriate protective equipment can include helmets, eyewear, mouthpieces, face guards, pads, and protective cups.
  • Increase flexibility and strengthen muscles. Stretching and conditioning exercises before and after games can help increase flexibility of muscles and tendons used in play.
  • Take breaks. Rest periods are important during practice and games to reduce the risk of overuse injuries. During the year, a 2-month break from a specific sport is recommended to prevent overuse injuries.
  • Play safe. There should be strict rules against headfirst sliding (in baseball and softball) and body checking (in ice hockey) to prevent serious head and spine injuries.
  • Prevent heat injury or illness. Drink plenty of proper fluids before, during, and after exercise or play. Allow athletes to gradually adjust to exercising in hot, humid weather by increasing activities slowly over the first 2 weeks of practice.
  • Stop playing if lightening is detected within a 6-mile radius.
  • Get a physical exam. Most organized sports teams require an exam before a child can play. Your pediatrician or family physician can clear your child to play sports during an annual physical. The doctor will fill out the sports pre-participation form (good all year) and provide valuable information on growth and healthy behaviors.

 

Playing safe can lengthen a child’s athletic career, improve teamwork, reduce obesity rates and create a lifelong love of healthy activity.

Jason Hurbanek, M.D., orthopedic surgeon, is a member of the Silver Cross Hospital Medical Staff.  Dr. Hurbanek graduated medical school from Ohio State University College of Medicine and Public Health. He completed an Orthopaedic residency at Henry Ford Hospital and an Orthopaedic Sports Medicine fellowship at Ohio State University Department of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine.  His office is located with Hinsdale Orthopaedic Associates, 1870 Silver Cross Blvd., Suite 200, New Lenox. To schedule an appointment, call (815) 462-3474.

About Silver Cross Hospital
Silver Cross Hospital is a not-for-profit health care provider serving Will County and southwest suburban communities since 1895.  Silver Cross has been recognized as a Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals National Award winner for the last six consecutive years and as one of America’s Most Customer Friendly Hospitals by the American Alliance of Healthcare Providers. With over 2,500 employees, physicians and volunteers, Silver Cross operates a 304-bed acute care hospital and eight satellite facilities providing outpatient services and physician offices. Construction has begun to build a state-of-the-art replacement hospital opening in 2012 in New Lenox.  To learn more about Silver Cross Hospital or a referral to a physician on staff, visit www.silvercross.org or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).

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