As school sports kick off this fall, many young athletes will try sports for the very first time. Working closely with your child’s pediatrician or specialist, you can support your child’s health and sports performance on and off the field.
“The best thing parents can do to support their child in sports is to make sure they have a healthy and nutritious diet, that they’re getting plenty of sleep and staying well hydrated,” said Dr. Joseph Iero, Orthopedic Surgeon at St. Joseph Health Orthopaedic Associates.
Sports physicals are also important to your athlete’s health and wellness because often, in daily, hectic life, your child will not be seen for an annual physical by their physician. A pediatrician or family physician will use milestones to evaluate your child year after year, as well as make sure your child is fit for sports.
“It’s also important that your child has a good cardiac exam because if they have any type of abnormality, it can be dealt with appropriately,” said Dr. Iero. “If the parent is with the child at the time of the physical, they can also ask the physician any questions they have about supporting their child’s participation in sports.”
Among the most frequent complaints orthopedic specialists hear from new athletes are from children involved in athletics filled with running and jumping. Many patients experience pain from overuse, frequently in the front of the knee or at the heel, said Dr. Iero.
“This can become very painful and often worries the patient or the parent because they think it may be a serious injury,” said Dr. Iero.
When to Seek Help
A strain or sprain should improve within a couple of days and with appropriate rest, ice, or anti-inflammatory medication. If it doesn’t, Dr. Iero recommends parents take their children to see their primary care physician or orthopedic specialist.
More serious injuries – like a possible fracture, limb numbness, or a dislocated or immobile limb – should be seen in the emergency room. “In some cases, athletes with non-displaced or closed fractures can be seen the next day in an urgent care setting or by their primary care physician (PCP) or orthopedic specialist, as long as they are comfortable at night,” said Dr. Iero.
Saturday Sports Injury Clinics
Another option parents have for getting sports injuries seen quickly are St. Joseph Health Saturday Sports Injury Clinics, held 9 a.m. Saturdays from August 17 to November 16 at 2803 Earl Rudder Fwy., Suite 103 in College Station.
“This is a great time for kids who may have had an injury during practice and/or on the field Friday night to come in and be evaluated early in the morning so they, their parents, and their coaches are able to find out quickly whether this is a significant injury,” said Dr. Iero.
Saturday clinics are available for athletes of all ages and injuries of all levels of severity.
If your new athlete has experienced an injury or needs care to return to the activities they enjoy, our sports medicine team is here to provide the individualized care and support they need.
Dr. Joseph Iero, Board-Certified Orthopedic Surgeon