Children's Hospital Los Angeles offers new approach to prevent injuries in young athletes

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Approximately 40 million American kids compete in sports, and the rate of injuries is on the rise.

There is also factors such as stress and burnout affecting kids on the field, in the pool and on the court.

That's why Children's Hospital Los Angeles is partnering with a non-profit organization called Positive Coaching Alliance L.A. They want to help parents and coaches recognize the signs of injury and help prevent more issues that come with youth sports programs.

C.J. Bradley is all too familiar with some of those issues.

The 14-year-old athlete was playing softball when a hard throw to her head totally knocked her down.

"The coaches pulled me out and then my parents took me to urgent care pretty fast after that," she said.

CHLA's Dr. Bianca Edison said unfortunately injuries like Bradley's are becoming more and more common.

About one kid every 25 seconds who comes into the ER for an injury is sports related.

With every sport comes risk, she said, and it's not just concussions that are causing problems. Injuries from overuse are also on the rise.

"We have young kids who are 13 and 14 who are needing Tommy John surgery for baseball. That was unheard of," she said.

Edison, who grew up with a passion for ballet, tennis and track, said one solution is for kids to sample more than one sport - don't specialize.

"It offers you the opportunity to really build up all your muscle groups and avoid injury. But, too, we avoid burnout," she said.

Bradley also follows that advice. When she's not pitching her 60 mph fastball, you can find her in the pool, taking a shot to score in water polo.

It's helped her maintain balance and still enjoy both sports.

Alan Berkes, with Positive Coaching Alliance L.A., said that kind of balance and putting kids first is a winning strategy.

"If the coach understands how to get the best out of their players - winning is going to come on board," he said. "If you emphasize effort over results, then you're going to make a better decision when an injury might come up."

It's an overall approach that could change the way kids play.

For more information on attending the free seminar this Saturday sponsored by CHLA and the Positive Coaching Alliance, just click the link:
Copyright © 2020 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.