As youth football preparation kicks into gear, it is important to be cognizant of common injuries that may occur during practice. Most common in kids sports are minor bruises, scrapes and abrasions- as a rule of thumb for scrapes you should (a) stop the bleeding (generally the bleeding will cease by itself), (b) clean the wound with water (c) bandage the wound. Before practicing, it is imperative that kids warm up properly (including muscle stretches), are properly fitted for equipment and are utilizing the right footwear. Some common football injuries are best treated with a little common sense, while other injuries require the consultation of a physician. Imaging studies, or x-rays, will help to determine the extent of the injury and direct treatment.
Here are some common on-field youth football injuries:
Knee Sports Injuries
- Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury. Caused by a sudden ‘cut’ or juke while on the football field. The symptoms include knee swelling and pain. Treatment commences with ice + elevation+ brace. In more extreme cases, surgery would apply.
- Medial Meniscus injury. Twisting of leg with the inability to fully extend knee. Athletes will notice a ‘locking’ action. Imaging studies would assist a physician to determine the severity and grade (judging how serious the tear is).
- Posterior Cruciate Ligament injury. Caused by a fall on a flexed knee. Rest, ice, elevation apply. Treatment depends on the extent of the injury, most cases are resolved without surgery. Over the counter anti-inflammatory medication serves well.
- Collateral Ligament injury. Two types of collateral- MCL and LCL. A hit to the side of the knee is a common football injury. This injury may occur simultaneously as with an ACL injury. Treatment includes ice, elevation and anti-inflammatory medications and limit physical activity until the swelling dissipates. May require the use of crutches as no weight should be applied to affected area.
Ankle Sports Injuries
An ankle sprain that includes swelling and/or pain. Occurs various ways on the football field. This is an indication that you have either (a) stretched or (b) tore an ankle ligament. Treatment includes rest, ice, elevation and ant-inflammatory over the counter medication.
Wrist Sports Injuries
A scaphoid fracture. Causes pain and swelling at base of thumb. Difficulty grabbing or gripping, bruising may occur around wrist. X-ray after fracture with thumb spica splint. Follow up after two weeks. After case is removed, work on improving strength of wrist.
After suffering a more severe sports related injury, please consult your primary care physician.Have a safe and injury free season.