Three Boys Holding Sports BallsFall sports are in full swing now that the kids are back to school. Team sports can provide a variety of benefits for children and teens, including a reduced risk of obesity, improved coordination and balance, and better cardiovascular fitness. But did you know that 1.35 million children and teens were admitted to the ER for sports-related injuries in 2011?

According to a report from the non-profit advocacy group, Safe Kids Worldwide, sports-related injuries account for 20% of all injury-related ER visits for children and teens. The most common sports-related injuries seen in children ages 6 to 19 are sprains and strains, fractures, contusions, abrasions and concussions.

Football accounts for the highest number of pediatric injuries (394,350). Basketball (249,650), soccer (104,190) and baseball (61,510) also can cause increased injuries in children and teens. The most common injuries were to the ankle (15%), head (14%), finger (12%), knee (9%) and face (7%).

Given the recent news stories about professional football players who have suffered serious medical problems due to concussions, and the NFL’s recent settlement with these players, concussions are no trifling matter. As for children and sports-related concussions, the report found that 163,670 children were seen in the ER for concussions – that equals one child with a sports-related concussion every 3 minutes. Almost half of these cases were in kids ages 12 to 15, which is troubling since kids ages 13 to 16 take longer to recover from a concussion than older teens. If the child suffers a second concussion later, it can cause even more problems.

As would be expected, football resulted in the highest concussion rate, but wrestling, ice hockey and soccer had high rates as well. However, what is interesting is that girls report a higher percentage of concussions than boys in sports in which both boys and girls play. For example in soccer players suffering from concussions, girls (17.1%) were more likely to be seen for sports-related concussions than boys (12.4%). This may be due to the fact that boys may be more reluctant to talk about the injury, because they don’t want to let their coach or teammates down, or because they don’t want to have to sit out a game.

What can parents do to help protect their children from sports-related injuries?

1.  Educate yourself and other parents.

Share the findings of this report with other parents on your child’s team. Talk to your child’s coach about what strategies he/she has implemented with the team to prevent injuries. Make sure concussion safety laws are enforced among coaches and sports programs in your community.

2. Ensure that your children learn skills to prevent sports injuries from occurring.

This can include confirming that they’re performing stretching and strengthening exercises to prevent injuries. To prevent concussions, talk to the coach to see if head contact is limited during play and that proper tackling technique is used. Ensure your child is wearing the right sports gear during games and practices to reduce injuries.

3. Encourage your child to speak up about being injured.

Let your child know that it is ok to get help if they’re injured, and that getting help can potentially prevent a more serious injury from occurring. Talk to them about how to recognize the symptoms of a concussion.

4.  Support coaches and officials in decisions to prevent injuries.

A report showed that half of coaches feel pressured by a parent or an athlete to keep the injured athlete in the game. Your child’s safety should come first so permanent, long-term damage doesn’t occur. Also encourage your school district or sports league to require annual recertification of coaches that shows they’re knowledgeable in sports injury prevention and recognition.

By supporting these strategies, you can help reduce the number of sports-related injuries in children and teens.

ezWalker® Performance Custom Orthotics Relieve Sports-related Foot Pain

While ezWalker® Performance Custom Orthotics can’t help prevent sports-related injuries from occurring, they can provide your child with pain relief if he/she suffers from foot pain due to an injury.

First, if your child is complaining about foot pain, it’s best to have their feet examined by a certified professional. If custom orthotics are recommended, they can help your child’s feet function more efficiently while improving posture and balance. ezWalker® Performance Custom Orthotics for Casual/Sport work in all types of shoes since they’re ultra thin and ¾ length. Plus, they come with a 90-day, money-back guarantee.

For more information on children’s foot orthotics, contact the

Because … when your children’s feet feel good, they feel good.® 

1 Ferguson RW, Green A, Hansen LM. Game Changers: Stats, Stories and What Communities Are Doing to Protect Young Athletes. Washington, DC: Safe Kids Worldwide, August 2013.
Photo credit: Microsoft Office Images