Archive for “Sports Medicine” Tag

Youth Athletes and Sports Injuries

 

Youth Athletes and Sports Injuries

Youth Athletes
 

By Clyde Mealy
 

The demands on today’s youth athletes are higher than ever. More youths are practicing longer and more frequently with fewer days in between to recover.
 

What is the cost of competition? According to Current Sports Medicine in 2008, reports that an estimated 45 million children and adolescents participated in organized sports in the United States alone. The question is how many are being properly trained and supervised. Nowadays, there is no true off-season to rejuvenate and have some fun or to play other sports just because… School athletics are followed by open or recreation league play that continues sometimes into the next season.
 

The bigger picture here is setting these youth athletes up for severe overuse injuries.

 

The most common for overuse is the shoulder joint for baseball players. The shoulder is the most moveable and most easily injured joint on the human body. Moreover, the elbow is another joint involved in overuse or repetitive movements. Medial Apophysitis (Little Leaguer’s Elbow), Tennis Elbow, Golfer’s Elbow are becoming more common in youth athletes. These conditions are especially serious in youth athletes because they are smaller, weaker and still growing. A family physician or sports specialist with a nonsurgical treatment as the goal if diagnosed early should examine any lingering symptoms.
 

Research conducted in 2000 revealed females had a 25% greater chance of an ankle injury over males. According to NASM, the sports commonly associated with ankle sprains are basketball, soccer and volleyball. It has been estimated that 80,000 – 150,000 ACL injuries occur each year. The Prime age group is 15-24 but more injuries are reported in youth athletes ages 10-14. Girls have five times the risk for an ACL injury than boys. Dr. Labella contributes this risk to poor neuromuscular control of knee motion during athletic tasks like landing from a jump, cutting or stopping. The importance here is the position of the knee (valgus) which places additional stress on the foot/ankle complex, the meniscus and the hip/low-back. If left unchecked, this can lead to an ankle sprain that can contribute to reduced participation of the gluteal muscles. Meniscus grinding can occur in the knee along with ligament damage due to weakness. If surgical repair is needed, this can lead to a life-changing event of how sports is viewed and played in the future. Osteoarthritis is a possibility along with other surgeries in the future.
 

According to Dr. Faigenbaum, to reduce the risk of sports-specific injuries in youth athletes like ankle and knee dysfunctions we should start with education and instruction. This should include a mastery of basic movements, exercise variation, proper progressive exercises and structured recovery. Veigel suggests rule changes in sports like baseball (pitch-counts) and hockey (checking) along with improved safety equipment and conditioning programs.
 

Overall, many youth athletes sports-related injuries can be avoided by properly preparing them for activity. Playing a contact sport like football or hockey will incur some minor sprains and strains as long as the proper equipment is worn and the game is played accordingly. Teaching today’s youth the fundamentals of their chosen sport can go a long way in how youth play the game they enjoy. It is our responsibility as fitness professionals to reinforce good habits and sportsmanship on and off the playing field.
 

As a trainer and volunteer coach, I prepare all my youth athletes with the proper warm-up of dynamic stretching, light cardio, core and balance training, concentric and eccentric training using resistance/weights, plyometrics, and bodyweight exercises/drills, and a cool-down with static stretching or yoga.
 

Injury prevention is my top priority. Especially for my female Youth Athletes, I work on foot/ankle and knee mechanics to activate the proper muscle groups (gluteals) to reduce injuries. Improved sports performance is the by-product of a properly trained and supervised youth athlete. In addition, structured recovery includes nutrition, hydration and supplements when appropriate and recommended by a healthcare professional like a family physician and or Registered Dietician. As the other experts suggested, education and instruction is the key to reduce injuries in today’s active youth.
 

Resources:
 

Labella, C., & Carl, R. (2010). Preventing knee ligament injuries in young athletes. Pediatric Annals, 39(11), 714-720. doi:10.3928/00904481-20101013-10
 

Myer, G. D., Faigenbaum, A. D., Ford, K. R., Best, T. M., Bergeron, M. F., & Hewett, T. E. (2011). When to Initiate Integrative Neuromuscular Training to Reduce Sports-Related Injuries and Enhance Health in Youth?. Current Sports Medicine Reports, 10(3), 157-166.
 

Veigel, J. D., & Pleacher, M. D. (2008). Injury Prevention in Youth Sports. Current Sports Medicine Reports, 7(6), 348-352.
 

NASM Essentials of Performance Enhancement, 2007
 

 

The Truth About Youth Pitching Injuries and Young Athletes

 

Youth Pitching Injuries: The Real Reason Why There are so Many

Youth Pitching injuries in young athletes

 

By Mike Reinold

 

This article that you are about to read is really disappointing. Pitching injuries in young athletes continue to rise despite research and effort designed to reduce these injuries, this is a problem.

 

To quickly summarize what we have learned about youth pitching injuries, we know that approximately one third of youth baseball pitchers will experience shoulder or elbow pain during a season. We also know that youth pitching injuries increased sixfold in the early 2000?s with Dr. James Andrews at his center in Alabama. This number is probably even higher now.

 

After years of speculation regarding exactly why these injuries occur. There is only one factor that continuously correlates to these youth pitching injuries. I’ve discussed the Little League curveball debate in the past. It isn’t throwing a curveball, it isn’t pitching at an early age, and it isn’t long tossing.

 

The reason is simple:

 

Youth pitching injuries are due to overuse.

 

But I think we are being polite by saying “overuse.” I would imagine we can even say “abuse” or maybe even “neglect.” Let me explain why.

 

After years of research showing that high pitch counts, pitching too frequently, throwing for multiple teams, pitching in showcases, and pitching while fatigued are significant factors in the rise of your pitching injuries, Little League Baseball and USA Baseball did the right thing. They consulted with many experts in the field of throwing injuries, including James Andrews, Glenn Fleisig, and the experts at the American Sports Medicine Institute, to develop pitch count rules to protect our youth from this overuse. Kudos to them for stepping up and doing the right thing.

 

But here is the problem….

 

A recent study published in Sports Health surveyed 95 youth baseball coaches about their knowledge of the safety guidelines established by the USA Baseball Medical and Safety Advisory Committee. The results are disappointing to say the least.

 

:: Overall, coaches answered 43% of questions correctly

 

:: 27% of coaches admitted to not following the safety guidelines, however only 53% of coaches felt that other coaches in the league followed the safety guidelines

 

:: 19% of coaches reported pitching a player while having a sore or fatigued shoulder or elbow

 

I’m sorry to say this, but…

 

Not understanding the safety guidelines is irresponsible and intentionally not following them is abuse.

 

The cause of youth pitching injuries are definitely multifactoral, however, overuse has been shown to be the most influential. Sadly, overuse also seems to be the easiest to address.

 

So what can you do? It probably starts with education. Share this article to help spread that word that overuse needs to end and safety guidelines need to be followed.

 

You can go back and read my article on Little League pitch count rules. USA Baseball also has some guidelines. To summarize them, in addition to monitoring pitch counts, players should not pitch with pain, should limit their throws from other positions (especially catching), limit their participation in our leagues, limit their participation in showcases, and not progress to more demanding pitches until their bodies start to mature.

 

All coaches need to be aware of these recommendations. Injury prevention with young athletes begins with the understanding of how injuries occur and what the specific safety recommendations entail.

 

The next step is getting on a proper injury prevention program. I’ve discussed some of these topics in my article on preventing Little League youth pitching injuries and have shared with you my Little League injury prevention exercises that I prepared for MGH several years ago. I probably need to update these but it serves as a good basis to begin.

 

It really is a shame that all these youth pitching injuries are occurring, let’s do our best to spread this education and help reduce these Little League injuries in our young athletes as much as we can! Consideration Prior To Training With Olympic Lifts.

 

 

 

An Example of What’s Wrong in Youth Sports?

Excerpt from Article: "Creatine, which the American College of Sports Medicine says shouldn’t be used by those younger than 18, has been shown to be ineffective for some people. It can cause stomach upset and muscle cramps and overwork the kidneys. There are no data evaluating the long-term consequences of use or its effect on the heart and brain."

 

"Coach H" Response: I have been reading this tired boogey monster story about creatine since the mid 80’s and coaching high school juniors and older using creatine the entire time. I have rarely witnessed anything negative happening. The one or two muscle cramp experiences were always related to very poor hydration habits. A few athletes did not get any benefit from creatine supplementation. But absolutely no one has had a significant negative effect.

My Response to "Coach H": Although I don’t disagree with the general statements made here, my question is this —> How do you know? Cause and effect relationship in medical situations is hardly an easy journey when one tries to locate pathology. In that you have signed your credentials to the bottom of this post and are fully experienced and qualified, then you are most certainly aware that soft tissue trauma and other forms of dysfunction that occur and go unchecked can impact compensatory action and cause injury, often years later. Again, I also think the ‘boogey man’ statements regarding creatine are inflated, but do not have hubris enough to assume that I know everything related to potential concerns – even years later.

 

(more…)

Athlete Development- What I Did in Australia…

 

Worldwide Athlete Development . A post From Brian Grasso.

I just got back from Australia…

…. And let me tell you – I am jet lagged!

The trip home from locations that far away are always

toughest.

I ended up flying from Melbourne to Auckland – Auckland to

Los Angeles – Los Angeles to Chicago.

Total time = 28 hours.

But it was worth every second.

Not only is it an honor to get invited to share my

knowledge worldwide, but it’s also incredibly enlightening

to sit in the audience and learn from other athlete development professionals.

Most of whom you may never have heard of.

This past week in Melbourne, I had the sincere pleasure of learning from my athlete development co-presenters, Douglas Heel from South Africa and Paul Taylor from Ireland.

And although we didn’t prepare any topics together,

we all ended up talking about the same general thing –

Communication.

Not one second of time was spent on discussing sets,

reps, exercises or programming.

All three of us lectured on the importance of

communication when it comes to your clients and athletes.

And our messages were 100% congruous:

The program doesn’t matter if your clients don’t

‘buy into’ the message.

Paul discussed this topic from his perspective as a

human behavior specialist.

Douglas from his specialty of sports medicine.

And of course I presented my take on the topic from

the perspective of a coach.

:: How do you coach young athletes who have different

personalities and learning styles?

:: What is the approach you use with high skill athletes

versus low skill athletes?

:: Why communication is the most important, but most

misunderstood part of producing champion athletes?

These are the main questions I answered during my two

hour lecture.

And the reality is that I took every second of my

presentation from the material contained in Complete

Athlete Development.

Not only has this all-inclusive package become known

worldwide as the number one collection of speed, strength,

flexibility and coordination athlete development training for

young athletes, but it also contains my own personal

coaching template that teaches you how to get the very

best out of each and every one of your young athletes.

I was overwhelmed at the conclusion of my seminar to

see and hear the audience so incredibly appreciative of

the information I provided.

Time for you to look at Complete Athletes Development and

see for yourself why ‘communication’ is the most critical

factor to developing championship young athletes.

Here’s a link for you to look at –

http://developingathletics.com/cad-short-copy.html

I’m off to get some sleep…

‘Till next time,

Brian