The Xs and Os of preventing sports injuries in children

October 25, 2010

The consequences of sports injuries that occur at a young age go well beyond losing school and playing time to the potential for the injury evolving into a lifelong problem.

DeFranco MJ

Surviving a season: Essential Advice for Young Athletes, Coaches, and Parents on staying Healthy and Avoiding Sports Injuries

Morgan Hill, Calif, Bookstand Publishing, 2010.
89 pages, $13.95 paperback.

“Recently, media attention has focused on concussions as a number of professional athletes have sustained them and lost playing time as a result,” notes author Michael J. DeFranco, MD, in his chapter on the vocabulary of injuries. “The more serious issue is how concussions affect your life off the field.” That discussion alone makes this short, basic guidebook to preventing and managing sports injuries in children a timely, important read for anyone interested in musculoskeletal health in young persons.

Dr DeFranco notes that the consequences of sports injuries that occur at a young age go well beyond losing school and playing time to the potential for the injury evolving into a lifelong problem, limiting the person’s capacity to perform work-related activities and to stay physically fit. His goal is to present the important issues surrounding sports injuries in young athletes and to provide a commonsense approach to avoiding them.

Although young athletes, parents, and coaches are the target audience, primary care physicians and pediatricians can benefit from reviewing the book’s principles and using them for patient education. Most physicians would find the book very basic, Dr DeFranco suggests, but that is the point-to present the key aspects of injury recognition and prevention in simple language that is understandable for persons who do not have a medical background.

Chapters include an overview of the sports injuries problem, the basics of bones and muscles, the importance of taking active steps toward maintaining bone strength, physical fitness CORE principles (Cardiovascular, Orthopedic, Rest, and Energize), the use of protective equipment, and injury treatment. One chapter is devoted to the all-important point that children are not small adult athletes-they have differences in body structure and development that need to be considered in injury prevention efforts.

Numerous line drawings, tables, and lists of additional resources add to the wealth of practical, useful information that is easy to read and understand. It all adds up to a great patient education vehicle for physicians to provide for their young patients and those who care most about their physical well-being.