Child athletes at risk of overuse injuries


In May, being a pitcher and catcher nearly cost Ian his throwing arm. Repetitive motion coupled with year-round play means little rest and recovery for young athletes, which means an increased risk of overuse injuries. Ian's left elbow was on fire.

We typically think of overuse injuries in terms of conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome, but they can affect children, too, and they're on the rise. Whether it's overzealous parents, too much practice or body mechanics to blame, there are warning signs to look out for and tips to prevent overuse injuries.

Dr. Tracy Zaslow at Children's Hospital Los Angeles is the team doctor for the Los Angeles Galaxy. She uses motion analysis to guide professional athletes and believes it could also help children.

"Our main goal is to work to identify these issues before an injury happens." she said.

Ian knows how to protect his elbow, but his results reveal he's in for a future knee injury. Zaslow will work with Ian to show him proper running, jumping and stopping techniques.

Other tips:
- Don't play through the pain. Stop and rest.
- Make sure to stay hydrated
- Play different sports to work complimentary muscle groups
- Apply ice to affected areas for 15 to 20 minutes after a game

Ian is following this advice and hopes to keep pitching into the big leagues and beyond.

"I follow it because I don't want to get injured again and go through all that tough times again," he said.

More tips can be found on the Children's Hospital Los Angeles website.

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