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Pediatric sports injuries: the silent epidemic
Date:3/10/2010

At today's 2010 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), two separate studies focus on the dramatic rise of pediatric sports injuries in recent years. However, despite this alarming trend, awareness, education, warning signs and early treatment can make a significant difference and help keep these athletes in the game, according to the study experts.

Year-round sports and increased exposure leading to more adolescent sport-related injuries

Thomas M. DeBerardino, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine for the University of Connecticut Huskies and Associate Professor of Orthopaedics at the University of Connecticut Health Center, moderated an instructional course at AAOS annual meeting, titled "Athletic Injuries in the Adolescent Athlete." According to Dr. DeBerardino, adolescent sport-related injuries are on the rise, so much so that they have become a "silent epidemic."

"More adolescents are participating in year-round sports without seasonal breaks, or they are playing on multiple teams simultaneously," he says. "This increased exposure means there will continue to be growing numbers of significant musculoskeletal injuries, both traumatic and chronic overuse."

Awareness and prevention can help, and Dr. DeBerardino says it's important to recognize that adolescents are just as susceptible to overuse and traumatic joint/extremity injuries as adults. At the same time, they are not "miniature adults" and because their bodies are still growing, there are special concerns in relation to orthopaedic injuries.

For example:

  • If metal hardware needs to be surgically implanted in an area that is still growing, it can stunt a child's growth.
  • If an adolescent has shoulder surgery, but the tension on the repair is too tight, it can lead to a lifetime of chronic pain.

"Everyone wants to get to the top," says Dr. DeBerardino. "But we have to look at this and say, are we
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Contact: Lauren L. Pearson
pearson@aaos.org
847-384-4031
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Source:Eurekalert

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