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Too Many Parents Think Injuries Are 'Part of the Game'
Date:4/19/2011

rence unveiling the survey's results. "About 40 percent of traumatic brain injuries to kids are sports-related ... and the direct medical costs are about $11 billion annually."

Children involved in team sports spend an average of 7.4 hours each week practicing or playing in games, with boys spending about 20 percent more time than girls, and 10- to 14-year-olds spending significantly more time than 5- to 9-year-olds.

Surveyed sports included football, soccer, field hockey, basketball, gymnastics, ice hockey, lacrosse, baseball, softball and T-ball.

One of the easiest problems to prevent is dehydration, said Tanya Chin Ross, director of public policy for Safe Kids USA.

"It's very important that parents and coaches don't wait until a child says they're thirsty," Ross said, noting that young athletes should drink several ounces of water or sports drinks every 30 minutes.

The survey also found parents and coaches more knowledgeable about injuries and prevention than a decade ago, although it did reveal wide gaps. For example, most parents believe coaches should be well-informed about injury prevention, but at the same time only 29 percent believe their kids' coaches actually have that knowledge.

Still, parents appear to know somewhat more about sports injuries than a decade ago, with 61 percent (vs. 51 percent in 2000) recognizing that more injuries occur during practices than games. Children, coaches and parents are also more likely to take multiple precautions to minimize injuries than they were 11 years ago, the study found.

However, the number of young athletes sustaining multiple injuries in team sports has increased to nearly 1.5 times the 2000 levels, a rise due almost entirely to higher rates of injuries among 10- to 14-year-old girls. Girls in this age group are now being injured at a rate equal to boys of the same age, the survey noted.

Lack of knowledge and concern about overuse injuries was also prevalent,
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