Thursday, June 30, 2011

Playing It Safe This Summer, Pediatric Sports Injuries

Almost one third of all childhood injuries are sports-related. Children between 5 and 14 years of age account for nearly 40% of all sports-related injuries treated in hospital emergency departments and the injury severity increases with age.
Sixty percent of organized sports-related injuries occur during practice.
About 20% of children and adolescents playing organized sports are injured each year and 1 in 4 of these injuries is considered serious.
The most common sport-related injuries in children are sprains and strains, bone and growth plate injuries, repetitive motion injuries, concussions and heat-related illness.
The x-ray shown reveals a Salter-Harris type III fracture of the medial malleolus of the left ankle, note that the fracture line is in the epiphysis and does not cross the growth plate. The red arrow demonstrates the fracture line while the blue arrow reveals the growth plate (physis).

 Approximately 2 out of 5 traumatic brain injuries among children are associated with participation in sports and recreational activities.
Traumatic brain injury is the leading cause of sports-related death in children, the majority of which occur during bicycling, skateboarding, or skating incidents.
Most (80-90%) traumatic brain injuries are mild. These mild traumatic brain injuries are called concussions. Concussions are functional, not structural, injuries and no abnormality is seen on CT scan or MRI.
A brain contusion is a more serious injury associated with localized structural damage and bleeding, often from multiple hemorrhages, which are readily apparent on CT scans (arrows). They are most commonly found in the frontal and temporal lobes.

A concussion or mild traumatic brain injury is a transient alteration of mental status induced by traumatic biomechanical force, with or without loss of consciousness. Every year athletes sustain concussions playing sports, with football having the highest prevalence. There are over 40,000 concussions suffered every year among high school players.
Brain damage caused by concussions can have long-term effects.
Symptoms of concussion are many. The most common symptoms in adolescent males are headache, dizziness/unsteadiness, confusion/disorientation, concentration difficulty and amnesia. In adolescent females common symptoms include headache, dizziness/unsteadiness, concentration difficulty, confusion/disorientation and drowsiness. Diagnosis is clinical as routine imaging studies of the brain such as CT and MRI (shown) are typically normal.
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