Warning about kids and sports: Doctors see more injuries amid lost activity time during pandemic

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Tuesday, May 11, 2021
Doctors seeing more youth sports injuries amid pandemic
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The pandemic didn't just keep kids away from school, but also from their sports teams. Now doctors are seeing a lot more injuries.

LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- The good news is that some kids are back in school and playing sports again. But unfortunately, local doctors are seeing a lot more injuries lately. The pandemic didn't just keep kids away from school, but also from their sports teams over the past year.

Noah Furlow, 13, never expected he'd be going into surgery at Miller Children's Hospital in Long Beach. Noah's bad break came during his first flag football game of the season. His dad Joe is the coach.

"He did exactly the technique I taught him to do, it was just unfortunate there was a collision in the air and he came down on his wrist, breaking the wrist pretty severely. It was pretty gruesome," said Joe Furlow.

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Torin Cunningham has seen a trend of increasing injuries as kids get back to school and back into sports.

"We're definitely seeing a lot more fractures of late," said Dr. Cunningham. "There's been a lot de-conditioning without sports activities for the last year, decreased outside time, and so the kids are trying to get back to the same level of participation, but they're not in shape and ready to do it."

"Knowing that they hadn't been in active for 14 months, I really try to take it slow during our practices, but the league we play in only gave us three weeks to prep before our first game, so they only had 4 1/2 hours of practice," said Joe Furlow.

This wasn't Noah's first injury. Last summer, he broke his wrist while skateboarding. This time around, he jokes that he's learned a thing or two from it.

"When I fall on the ground from jumping as high as I can, I will probably not put out my arm," he said.

Mom Renae is already looking forward to the fall, saying she thinks Noah will be back on the field by August after some rehab.

But Coach Joe thinks injuries like this can be prevented and says, "We need to start training now for the fall, we need to get them back on the field... start conditioning, get them back to pre-COVID levels."

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