The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons noted that there are two main types of teen sports injuries—acute injuries and overuse injuries. Acute injuries are the result of a sudden trauma, such as a collision with something or someone on the playing field. Overuse injuries occur over a period of time; an athlete keeps injuring the part or parts of the body. The body is repeatedly reinjured without having time to heal. Overuse injuries may affect muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones, and growth plates. For example, swimmers have a tendency for overuse injuries to their shoulders, and gymnasts may easily have overuse injuries to their wrists and elbows. Stress fractures are a common overuse injury in teens and young adults. When the body does not make sufficient bone to replace the breakdown of older bone, the bone is weakened and a stress fracture may occur. 2 Stress fractures are known for being exquisitely painful. So, it is important to find ways to help prevent some of these injuries.
In a study published in 2012 in BMC Medicine, researchers from the United Kingdom noted that lower limb injuries in sports are quite common and are the cause of “large economic as well as personal burdens.” As a result, they wanted to learn more about the use of neuromuscular warm-up strategies and injury prevention. Typically, these are movements that include stretching, strengthening, balance exercises, agility drills, and landing techniques. The researchers found nine relevant studies; six were randomized controlled trials and three were controlled clinical trials. Two studies had male and female participants; the other studies had only females. On average the studies included 1,500 participants. The age range of the participants was 13 to 26 years. The studies evaluated injuries from a variety of sports, such as football, basketball, and volleyball, and they determined that several of the neuromuscular warm-up strategies are useful in the prevention of lower limb injuries. But, these warm-up strategies need to be completed at all the training sessions for more than three consecutive months. The researchers commented that more studies are needed to identify which ”neuromuscular warm-up strategy components are most beneficial and the mechanisms behind their effectiveness.” 3
In a study published in 2010 in the journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, researchers from the Netherlands investigated the effects of an eight-month school-based injury prevention program on the incidence and severity of physical activity injury. The cohort consisted of 2,210 children between the ages of 10 and 12 years from 40 primary schools throughout the Netherlands. The students in 20 schools were in the intervention group; the students in the other 20 schools were in the control group. The program included monthly newsletters, classroom posters, a Web site with an abundance of interactive material, and five-minute exercises at the beginning and ending of all physical education classes. Because they are the most common, the intervention focused primarily on preventing lower-extremity injuries. A total of 100 injuries in the intervention group and 104 injuries in the control group were registered. The intervention appeared to have a stronger effect in the less active students. The researchers commented that they “found a substantial and relevant reduction in physical activity injuries, especially in children in the low active group, because of the intervention.” 4
In a study published in 2013 in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, researchers from Canada wanted to learn more about the transmission of information between players, parents, and coaches on female soccer knee injuries and how they may be prevented. During the 2007 indoor soccer season, a descriptive survey was administered to players, parents, and coaches from the Edmonton Minor Soccer Association. Information was obtained from people involved in both competitive (about 30 percent) and recreational (about 70 percent) teams. Over half of the people, a total of 773, responded to the survey. The average player was 14.2 years and had played soccer for an average of seven years. Seventy-one percent of the respondents were aware of a risk for knee injury. Parents and coaches were more likely than players to consider knee injuries to be preventable. However, they failed to identify prevention strategies. Almost 64 percent of the respondents reported that they had not received any information on knee injuries. The researchers noted that “substantial knowledge gaps regarding knee injury prevention and effective preventative strategies were identified.” And, they concluded that given the high number of knee injuries in female teen soccer, “there is an urgent need for knowledge translation of prevention strategies to decrease both incidence and long-term consequences of knee injuries.” 6
In a study published in 2013 in the Journal of Advanced Prosthodontics, researchers from Korea examined the underuse of mouthguards by Korean Taekwondo athletes. (Taekwondo is an aggressive form of karate.) The cohort consisted of 152 athletes who participated in the Korea National Taekwondo team selection event for the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games. They completed questionnaires, which asked a variety of questions about their use of mouthguards. Although the participants acknowledged that mouthguards prevented injury, the researchers found a relatively low level of mouthguard use. They noted that mouthguards made it more difficult to breathe and speak, and they caused jaw muscle fatigue. The participants suggested that they had inadequate information on mouthguards. When they did use mouthguards, it was most often the boil-and-bite type. Rarely did they use custom-made mouthguards, which would have been more comfortable. The researchers suggested that dentists provide more information to their patients on the importance of using mouthguards, especially custom-made mouthguards, which fit very well. 8
1. Stanford Children’s Health, www.stanfordchildrens.org.
2. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, http://orthoinfo.aaos.org.
3. Katherine Herman, Christian Barton, Peter Malliaras, and Dylan Morrissey, “The Effectiveness of Neuromuscular Warm-Up Strategies, That Require No Additional Equipment, for Preventing Lower Limb Injuries During Sports Participation: A Systematic Review,” BMC Medicine 10 (2012): 75+.
4. Dorine C. M. Collard, Evert A. L. M. Verhagen, Mai J. M. Chinapaw et al., “Effectiveness of a School-Based Physical Activity Injury Prevention Program,” Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine 164, no. 2 (2010): 145-50.
5. Elif Bahar Tuna and Emre Ozel, “Factors Affecting Sports-Related Orofacial Injuries and the Importance of Mouthguards,” Sports Medicine 44 (2014): 777-83.
6. B. Orr, C. Brown, J. Hemsing et al., “Female Soccer Knee Injury: Observed Knowledge Gaps in Injury Prevention Among Players/Parents/Coaches and Current Evidence (the KNOW Study),” Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports 23 (2013): 271-80.
7. Hanna Lindblom, Markus Waldén, Siw Carlfjord, and Martin Hägglund, “Implementation of a Neuromuscular training Programme in Female Adolescent Football: 3-Tear Follow-Up Study After a Randomised Controlled Trial,” British Journal of Sports Medicine 48 (2014): 1425-30.
8. J. W. Lee, C. K. Heo, S. J. Kim et al. “Mouthguard Use in Korean Taekwondo Athletes—Awareness and Attitude,” Journal of Advanced Prosthodontics 5, no. 2 (2013): 147-52.
Collard, Dorine C. M., Evert A. L. M. Verhagen, Mai J. M. Chinapaw et al. “Effectiveness of a School-Based Physical Activity Injury Prevention Program.” Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine 164, no. 2 (2010): 145-50.
Herman, Katherine, Christian Barton, Peter Malliaras, and Dylan Morrissey. “The Effectiveness of Neuromuscular Warm-Up Strategies, That Require No Additional Equipment, for Preventing Lower Limb Injuries During Sports Participation: A Systematic Review.” BMC Medicine 10 (2012): 75+.
Lee, J. W., C. K. Heo, S. J. Kim et al. May “Mouthguard Use in Korean Taekwondo Athletes—Awareness and Attitude.” Journal of Advanced Prosthodontics 5, no. 2 (2013): 147-52.
Lindblom, Hanna, Markus Waldén, Siw Carljord, and Martin Hägglund. “Implementation of a Neuromuscular Training Programme in Female Adolescent Football: 3-Year Follow-Up Study After a Randomised Controlled Trial.” British Journal of Sports Medicine 48 (2014): 1425-30.
Orr, B., C. Brown, J. Hemsing et al. “Female Soccer Knee Injury: Observed Knowledge Gaps in Injury Prevention Among Players/Parents/Coaches and Current Evidence (the KNOW Study).” Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports 23 (2013): 271-80.
Padua, Darin A., Lindsay J. DiStefano, Stephen W. Marshall et al. “”Retention of Movement Pattern Changes After a Lower Extremity Injury Prevention Program Is Affected by Program Duration.” American Journal of Sports Medicine 40, no. 2 (2012): 300-306.
Ting, D. K., and R. J. Brison. “Injuries in Recreational Curling Include Head Injuries and May Be Prevented by Using Proper Footwear.” Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention in Canada 35, no. 2 (2015): 29-34.
Tranaeus, Ulrika, Urban Johnson, Andreas Ivarsson et al. “Sports Injury Prevention in Swedish Elite Floorball Players: Evaluation of Two Consecutive Floorball Seasons.” Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy 23 (2015): 899-905.
Tuna, E. B., and E. Ozel. “Factors Affecting Sport-Related Orofacial Injuries and the Importance of Mouthguards.” Sports Medicine 44 (2014): 777-83.
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org .
Stanford Children’s Health. www.standfordchildrens.org .