Another expert stressed that kids who engage in sports have unique vulnerabilities.
"In order to better appreciate overuse injuries in children, one must understand that kids are not just 'small' adults," explained Dr. Victor Khabie, chief of sports medicine at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y. "There is a significant physiological difference between a growing child and a developmentally mature person," he added.
According to Khabie, who is also co-director of the hospital's Orthopedic and Spine Institute, "children grow via growth plates which are 'growth centers' at the end of bones. When a child complains of elbow or shoulder pain because of excessive pitching or batting, the [cause] is often due to an injury to the growth plate."
The consequences could be serious, he added. "Left untreated, an injured growth plate could lead to permanent damage," Khabie said. "This is why it is important for parents, coaches and trainers working with young ball players to understand the signs and symptoms of overuse baseball and softball injuries and to have the child athlete be evaluated by a sports medicine specialist."
The Nemours Foundation has more about youth baseball safety.
-- Robert Preidt
SOURCES: Victor Khabie, M.D., chief, department of surgery, co-director, Orthopedic and Spine Institute,
and chief, sports medicine, Northern Westchester Hospital, Mount Kisco, N.Y.; American Academy of Pediatrics, news release, Feb. 27, 2012
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