Sports Safety for Keiki

Live Healthy

Hawaii’s temperate climate and year-round sunshine offer families with young children the opportunity to stay active 24/7/365.

Studies show that playing sports provides keiki numerous benefits:

  • Stronger muscles and bones.
  • Reduced risk of becoming overweight or developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Improved ability to concentrate in school.
  • Better sleep.
  • More positive overall outlook on life.

So when your little all-star shows potential in a particular field – be it soccer, basketball, swimming or track – it might be tempting to sign him up for multiple seasons of the same sport.

However, doctors say they are seeing a rise in the number of overuse injuries in children who play the same sport all year long.

“Choosing to stay in the same sport can stress the same body part and increase the risk of injury,” warns Dr. Jennifer King, a pediatric sports medicine physician with Kapiolani Orthopedic Associates.

King says coaches and parents can help prevent overuse injuries in young athletes by scheduling at least one day off each week so the child can rest and recover.

Coaches also can help by varying the types of drills they use during practice and by cross-training.

“Kids and teens are still growing and developing, which places them at high risk for certain types of injuries only seen in their age group, such as ‘Little League elbow.’ By cross-training, they give each body part a chance to rest and another body part to get stronger,” King explains.

“Most professional athletes who play team sports have played different sports through the years at least up until college,” she adds. “It is important to vary a young athlete's workout so they do not continue to stress the same body part over and over again.”

Published on: April 21, 2015