Archive for the ‘Injury’ Category

Study: Benefits of Multi-sport Participation and Specialization Delay

| Injury

It’s not just about preventing overuse injuries, it’s also what 88% of college athletes do

Participation in youth sports is at an all-time high in this country, with kids starting almost as soon as they can walk. Children of all ages are in on the action, from T-ball and soccer leagues for kids barely out of the toddler stage to college and Olympic level athletes. Most do it for fun and social interaction, some have high hopes for scholarships or professional careers.

One thing most of these youth athletes have in common is parents herding them to practices and games, cheering them on, and supporting their aspirations. However, sometimes caring parents, intentionally or not, put unnecessary pressure on their children to excel.

Overuse and specialization

One area where this type of pressure is seen is in specializing in one sport. Parents seeking sports scholarships often encourage their children to participate year-round in recreational, travel and school teams of a single sport. Besides the potential for overuse injuries and fatigue, children are at risk for burnout. Kids have their limits and too much of the same thing may push them to quit playing altogether.

A study conducted by UCLA drives home these points . Of 296 NCAA Division I male and female athletes, 88% averaged participation in two to three sports as children and 70% didn’t specialize until after the age of 12. This research suggests that the odds of athletes achieving elite levels through specialization are poor. The exception would be in gymnastics where athletes reach elite levels at a young age.

The general rule of thumb is that children shouldn’t consider specializing until age 15 or 16. However, it’s always best to encourage kids to play different sports and even take a season off. It’s also healthy to balance sports with other activities, such as music, and involvement in scouting or other youth groups.

It’s a girl thing

Girls are participating in more sports at higher levels of competition than ever before. Therefore, it’s important for parents, coaches and players to realize that the anatomical difference between males and females leaves them more vulnerable to certain injuries.

Female athletes are more prone to ACL injuries than male athletes. This is in large part due to the increasing number of  girls playing soccer, a sport that sees more ACL injuries than most. However, the strength of the ACL can be affected by estrogen levels that fluctuate during the menstrual cycle. High injury rates among girls can also be attributed to the fact that they have wider pelvises and weaker hamstrings. This can put added stress on the ACL, according to New York orthopedic surgeon Armin M. Tehrany.

Keeping the lines of communication open

It’s important for athletes to be honest with their parents and trainers about how they feel about playing and any pain they’re experiencing. It’s equally important for parents and trainers to listen and act accordingly. If the child resists going to practice, maybe he or she needs a break. Many athletes fear being taken out of the game if they complain of injuries. Ignoring or playing through pain only increases the risk for further injury and even surgery. Being aware of and practicing sport-specific injury prevention is critical.

Source: Matthew Engel. “Top orthopedic surgeon urges parents not to push young athletes too hard,” 20 July 2017.

Risks of Sports Specialization Among Youth Athletes

Focus on a single sport can lead to overuse injuries

Kids are starting to participate in recreational sports leagues and camps at increasingly younger ages in recent years. T-ball teams, soccer leagues, swim clubs, skating rinks, cheer squads, tumbling schools and even dance studios are filled with little people, some as young 3 and 4 years of age.  And many are choosing to participate in a single activity year round from an early age.

Sports specialization (focusing on a single sport) in youth sports can, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), result in early burnout, emotional stress and overuse injuries. However, the risks can be mitigated by following recommendations by AAP.

Weighing the decision to specialize

Research shows that the physical development of children is better among those who play a variety of sports prior to puberty. Encouraging kids to experience a overuse injuries in youth sportswide range of sports activities also means they’ll be much less likely to lose interest or quit altogether. Studies show that children who specialized in a single sport from a young age tend to have more short-lived athletic careers.  The AAP recommends that children put off specializing in a sport until about age 15 or 16.

It’s important to determine why you or your child thinks he or she should specialize. More often than not, college scholarships are a motivator.  Be realistic about such opportunities: on average, 8% percent of high school athletes succeed in making a college team, but only 1% of those make it on an athletic scholarship.

Specialization and overuse injuries

Specialization can lead to overuse injuries, which can be muscle, bone, tendon or ligament damage resulting from repetitive stress and lack of healing time. One of the most common overuse injuries among athletes is shin splints.

Alarmingly, overuse accounts for half of all sports medicine injuries among children and teens. Children and teens are more susceptible to overuse injuries than adults because their still underdeveloped bones don’t recover as well from stress.

Preventing overuse injuries

So, if the decision has been made to specialize, there are steps that can be taken to lower the risk of overuse injuries.

Be Prepared:  It’s critical that all athletes maintain their fitness level both in and off season. General and sport-specific conditioning during the preseason are also extremely important. An evaluation by a physician prior to participation is the most essential step in determining whether a child can safely play his or her chosen sport. This should be done four to six weeks prior to practice and play to allow for time to address any potential obstacles to participation.

Train Smart: Weekly training times, distances, and repetitions should only be increased by 10% each week. For example, a 15-mile per week run should only be increased to 16.5 miles the following week, 18 miles the week after that and so on. Sport-specific trainingOveruse injuries in youth sports should vary. For instance, runners incorporate a diversity of running surfaces by running on the road, on a treadmill, on grass and in a pool. Likewise, training should include a variety of workouts, such as treadmills/ellipticals, weight lifting, and swimming.

Rest Smart: Training every day is a sure path to emotional and physical stress. Athletes should allow time for recovery by taking at least one day off every week from training, practice and  play. It’s just as important to take four to eight weeks off during the year from a specific sport.  A good rule of thumb is one month off for every six months of training and play.

Avoid Burnout: Overtraining can alter an athlete’s physical, hormonal and mental performance. Remember that a child should enjoy participating and the training should be age appropriate. They shouldn’t look at it as a job or a test. Be aware of changes in the athlete’s eating and sleeping habits. In particular, be alert for changes in or cessation of a girl’s menstrual period. Don’t hesitate to consult a physician if such changes are observed.

  • Trisha Korioth, “Too much, too soon: Overtraining can lead to injury, burnout.” 29 Aug, 2016.
  • “Preventing Overuse Injuries.” 21 Nov. 2015.

Youth Athletes and Concussion Recovery

Too many parents following outdated medical advice

Starve a cold, feed a fever. Swimming within 30 minutes of eating causes cramps. Cracking your knuckles causes arthritis. Tilt the head back to stop a nosebleed. All outdated but once heavily relied upon advice from the medical community. Sadly, these and similarly unsubstantiated notions continue to circulate. And apparently so are incorrect ideas about concussion recovery.

Despite ongoing media attention and education efforts surrounding concussions, research shows that many parents still rely on outdated advice when monitoring their concussed children. Where once the impact of concussions was downplayed, apparently now parents are going to the opposite extreme and impeding recovery.

A national survey conducted by UCLA Health asked 569 parents how they would care for a child with concussion symptoms that persisted a week following the head injury. More than 75% said they would wake their child to check on them throughout the night and 84% said they would not permit the child to participate in any physical activity. About 65% said they prohibit use of electronic devices.

Making a healthy recovery

Frequent disruption or lack of sleep can affect memory, moods and energy levels, which are exactly what doctors use to measure concussion recovery. Once the child has been examined by a medical professional and determined to be at no further risk, sleep will help the brain recover more quickly, according to Christopher Giza, a UCLA paediatric neurologist.

And while contact sports are to be avoided until the child is fully recovered and cleared by a medical professional, mild exercise and aerobic activities such as walking and bike riding promote the healing process and overall good health.

As for electronic devices, it’s a good idea to keep kids off them during the early days of the injury. But easing them into their normal social, intellectual and physical activity is what’s best.

Most concussion patients make a full recovery, though dizziness and headaches can persist for weeks. Parents should always heed the advice of the physician monitoring the child and remember that rest and pain relievers for headaches are the best treatments in most cases.

Source: “Parents following outdated concussion tips,” 08 Sept. 2016.

Most Common Fatal Risks Faced By Outdoor Participants

Surprising causes behind the most common incidents

More than 305 million people visit U.S. national parks each year. The National Park Service reports an average of 160 visitor deaths annually. Those are pretty good statistics, but they could be lower. And the types of injuries and fatalities reported in these parks can happen to anyone in the great outdoors, whether hiking, camping or participating in outdoor sports.

The best way to avoid injuries in these settings is to plan and prepare well. Choose activities that match the experience and skills of everyone involved, Gather information about weather and the environment prior to setting out and ask about specific hazards in the area upon arrival at your destination.  And, of course, always follow the posted rules and regulations. Use of the buddy system can also go a long way in lowering the risk for injury or death: two sets of eyes and ears are better than one.

Below are six of the most common causes of injuries and death in the great outdoors:

  1. Drowning is the most common cause of death in national parks. Sadly, drowning while swimming incidents have increased every year, from 32 in 2007 to 59 in 2013. Boaters, kayakers and rafters also account for many drownings, while fewer than 10 resulted from rip currents.
  2. Vehicular accidents in national parks, surprisingly, account for the second most frequent cause of death in national parks. The National Park Service reported 143 fatalities between 2007and 2013, despite the lack of heavily trafficked roads. Reckless drivers exist everywhere. Six of the accidents involved bicyclists, seven involved pedestrians and 42 of those who died were on motorcycles.
  3. Severe weather conditions such as gusting winds and flash floods cause the fewest fatalities – only eight from 2007 to 2013. However, other environmental factors played a role in deaths. Exposure to cold or heat, avalanches, and rockslides are examples such causes of fatal incidents in the wilderness. Advance preparation and knowledge of existing hazards can prevent being caught in dangerous conditions.
  4. Slips/falls by hikers resulted in 169 deaths in national parks between 2007 and 2013. People falling over cliffs, from trees and rocks, over waterfalls and down slippery slopes are all too common incidents that can result in serious injury and death. Likewise, slipping in streams or on trails covered in wet leaves and brush are the cause of many injuries.
  5. Wildlife sightings are a big draw for visitors to parks and other outdoor areas. Unfortunately, the animals aren’t usually quite as enamored with their human visitors. The most common cause of death by wild animal is attack by grizzly bear. Other animals that commonly present a risk are mountain goats, boars and snakes.
  6. Poisoning by carbon monoxide, drugs, alcohol and toxic plants are very rare, but do occasionally occur.

Source: “How many people actually die in national parks?” 21 Oct. 2016

Celebrity Trainer Client Suffers Injury and Files Lawsuit

When the trainer or facility is liable

Sore muscles and the occasional pulled ligament at the gym aren’t uncommon and are to be expected. Warming up before exercising and using the equipment correctly are the best ways to prevent injuries. One responsibility of the gym’s staff members and trainers is to assist clients in the proper use of the equipment.

Improper use of equipment and improper supervision can lead to serious trouble for both staff and clients.

A costly fall

A New York woman filed suit against her trainer after she was injured during a training session. According to the suit, Nicole Dickstein, 37, was seriously injured after falling off a balance ball. Dickstein alleges that the ball moved suddenly while she was standing on the side of the ball on one leg holding weights and with no support.

Dickstein’s $250 private training session with celebrity trainer Rich Barretta resulted in a torn hamstring. The injury required extensive surgery that included the insertion of hardware. The suit did not specify the damages Dickstein in seeking. The surgery alone had to run in the many thousands of dollars.

Injuries such as these not only rack up huge medical bills, but can incur the injured person lost wages, emotional trauma, hardship at home, and even derail life events such as weddings and vacations. If the trainer or the gym owner/operator is found liable for the injury, one or both can suffer huge financial losses, not only in compensation to the injured, but in attorney fees, court costs and more.

Protection for health clubs and trainers

We highly recommend that all personal trainers and fitness club owner/operators Treadmills as Health Club Risksread “Risks that Could Put Your Fitness Center Out of Business” and “Injuries at Gyms and Homes.”  

Sadler offers Fitness Instructor Insurance specifically designed to meet the unique needs of personal trainers of all types, including aerobics, yoga, and pilates.. We also offer several Health Club Insurance programs, one of which will meet your facility’s needs. You can get a fast quote by clicking the links above or calling 800-62-07370.

Source: Julia Marsh. “Mom sues celebrity trainer after suffering torn hamstring.” 05 Aug. 2016.

Heat Illness: A Potential Bounce House Risk

Is it too early to jump to conclusions?

We’ve all heard tragic stories of kids and pets left unattended in vehicles in hot weather. Some parents and pet owners have simply been distracted for a few moments and suffered the greatest of losses.

One parent, a researcher at the University of Georgia, wondered if bounce houses might pose a similar risk for children. Marshall Shepherd is a professor of geography and atmospheric sciences who saw his own child bouncing in one on a hot day and decided to test his theory. The results of his study, “Do Inflatable Bounce Houses Pose Heat-related Hazards to Children?” was published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

Children are more vulnerable to heat exhaustion and other heat illnesses, according to Shepherd’s co-author Andrew Grundstein, also of UGA. Children need to be monitored closely when participating in sports and other physical activities in hot, humid weather. It’s possible they could become overheated in the greenhouse-like environment of a bounce house.

Indicators of potential heat illness can include dizziness, nausea, fatigue, and skin that is moist and flushed.

How hot is hot?

The study’s experiments were conducted on a bounce house on the UGA campus in typical summer weather conditions for Athens, Georgia. Measurements over a five-hour timespan showed that the the bounce house air temperatures were consistently greater than the ambient temperatures. On a 92°F day, the temperature in the inflatable was nearly four degrees higher. When outdoor temperatures exceeded 100° F, the temperatures in the bounce house were almost seven degrees higher.

The heat index, where relative humidity is factored into the actual air temperature to determine how hot it actually feels, was also taken into consideration in the study. The difference in the heat index inside the inflatable was considerably greater than that of the air temperatures. The bounce house’s average heat index reached nearly 104°F, or more than seven degrees than outside, while difference at the peak temperature of 117°F was more eight degrees.

The risk to sports organizations

Some sports organizations bring in bounce houses as fundraisers. General Liability policies for sports organizations often have an exclusion for inflatables due to the risks of injury involved. Recent media accounts have cited examples of serious injuries occurring when improperly anchored inflatables have been lifted high into the air during wind gusts. Inflatable or bounce house operators should always provide proof of General Liability insurance with an each occurrence limit of at least $1 million and name the sports organization as an additional insured.

Source: “Researchers Say Bounce Houses Raise Heat Safety Concern,” 10 Aug. 2016.

Skateboarding Injuries

| Injury

Why one city will be paying the price

Issues of liability at a skate park that isn’t even built yet are causing an uproar in the city of Niagara Falls. Apparently the agreement drawn up by former professional skateboarder Tony Hawk and park designer Aaron Spohn relieves them of any liability. The city’s mayor and community development director accepted a $10,000 grant from Hawk, who included a no-liability clause in the agreement.

And that could cost the city’s taxpayers years and years of litigation fees and settlements defending inevitable injury claims.

Skateboarding is classified as an “extreme sport,” a class that reported over 4 million injuries between 2000 and 2011, according to the New York Times. A 2014 study conducted by Western Michigan University School of Medicine shows that nearly one in every 10 of those involved the head (87%) or neck (17%).  Annually, an estimated 1500 hospitalizations and 50,000 emergency room visits by young skateboarders occur nationwide.

Falling from various heights and while moving at great speeds commonly results in injuries affecting the spine, limbs, and hips. Fractures of the wrist and ankle are the most frequently reported. Concussions also rank very high among skating injuries, according to David Shafron, a Phoenix neurosurgeon.

More skaters were injured while skating on ramps and in skate arenas or parks, according to a 2001 study, while fewer than 10 percent of injuries occurred while skating on roads.  Many skaters lack the training and skills to duplicate the stunts they see professional skaters pull off. Many amateurs also fail to wear safety helmets and padding, which increases the risk of broken bones, concussions, and even life-altering disabilities.

Risk management is the key to lowering the risks for injuries in any sport. We invite you to read our many free articles on injury prevention and risk management. We also offer Skate Park General Liability and Accident insurance. For more information, please call us at (800) 622-7370.

Source: Mike Hudson, “Skateboard Gurus Hawk, Spohn Absolved of Liability for Injuries at New Park Here,” 25 Aug. 2015

Zipline and Ropes Course Safety

North and South Carolina lacking regulations

Ziplines, rope courses and other commercial aerial amusements have become extremely popular in recent years. But safety regulations across the country vary widely, and two recent deaths highlighted the lack of regulations in both North and South Carolina.

The death of a 16-year old in South Carolina occurred after a fall from a pendulum swing on Sassafras Mountain. In June, a 12-year-old fell to her death from a zipline at YMCA’s Camp Cheerio in North Carolina.

The pendulum swing on Sassafras Mountain, which is tantamount to a Tarzan rope, doesn’t meet the formal definition of an amusement ride in South Carolina and was not inspected by the Office of Elevators and Amusement Rides, according to the S.C. Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

North Carolina is currently waiting for the governor’s signature on House Bill 39, which calls for an increase in the penalty for illegal operations of amusement apparatuses and mandates a study by the N.C. Department of Labor on regulation of zipline operations.

There is no pending legislation for aerial amusements in South Carolina.

There are two trade organizations that have each published zipline and challenge course standards: the Association for Challenge Course Technology, which has a membership of over 26,000, and the Professional Ropes Course Association, which has over 2500 international members

Founded in 1993, the ACCT accredits builders and certifies inspectors. The rise in popularity of ziplining began nearly a decade later. The PRCA was the industry’s first developer of ANSI-accredited standards.

Source: Karen Chavez, “Carolinas lack oversight of ziplines, swings.” 15 July, 2015.

Children’s bicycle death rates lower than adults

| Injury

What’s behind the statistics?

Did you know that the death rate of bicyclists killed on the roads is twice that of people who die in vehicles? And that’s despite the fact that bicyclists make up only 1 percent of all road trips in the U.S.

Oddly enough, adults make up the greater number of these deaths. Since 1975, the death rate of children cyclists under age 15 has dropped 92 percent while the adult death rate increased over the same period. The total death rate of cyclists between 1975 and 2012 dropped by 44 percent – a statistic totally driven by fewer child deaths.

These facts could be due to fewer children riding bikes to school than they once did. Today, roughly 13 percent of children ride a bike or walk to school. That’s a precipitous drop from the 48 percent who walked or rode in 1969. Kids today also spend less time participating in outdoor aBicycle death ratectivities like bike riding, preferring to play video games and the company of their cell phones and tablets. Helmet requirements for children may also play a role in the decreased deaths. The number of adults commuting by bicycle, however, has risen since 1975, which could factor into the rise in adult deaths.

The states with the highest bicycle death rates are Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Louisiana, and California. It’s possible that the increasing popularity in recreational and commuter cycling is an element in the increased death rate. However, Portland, Ore., Austin, and Madison, Wis., are cycle-friendly cities that haven’t experienced an increase in road deaths.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports 29,711 cyclist deaths in a period of 38 years. These are cycling fatalities that take place on public roads or that involve a motor vehicle. These NHTSA statistics don’t account for changes in the numbers of people who ride bikes, how often they ride, or how far they ride.

Source: John Tozzi, “Kids’ Biking Deaths Declined but Adults Deaths Rise,” 14 Aug. 2015.

Top 10 Sports & Recreation Injuries

Where’s the outrage for non-football related injuries?

I was reading through a recent list of common sports and recreation injuries and began to wonder why football and other higher risk sports get most of the negative media attention? Why not boating, bicycling, skiing, snowboarding, inflatable moon bounce, ATV, golf carts, or home injuries? Why is the media not screaming for these activities to be banned? Is the media biased against football?

To follow is the recently published list that prompts the question:

  1. Kids ages 5 to 14 made up 52 percent of football-related injuries requiring emergency room visits in 2012.
  2. The U.S. Coast Guard reported 500 deaths, 2,620 injuries and $39 million in property damage related to recreational boating accidents in 2013.
  3. Alcohol use is the no. 1 contributing factor in fatal boating accidents and contributes to 16 percent of boating-related deaths.
  4. The top five contributing factors to boating accidents are operator inexperience, operator inattention, improper lookout, excessive speed and machinery failure.
  5. The National Highway Safety Traffic Administration reported 720 bicyclists killed and 49,000 injured in motor vehicle accidents in 2012.
  6. Risk of injury in bicycle sportsAn average of 41.5 people died in skiing or snowboarding accidents each year between 2002 and 2012.
  7. More than 90 percent of the 113,272 injuries treated in emergency rooms associated with inflatable amusements were related to moon bounces between 2003 and 2013.
  8. Between 1982 and 2013, 13,043 ATV-related deaths were reported.
  9. Approximately 13,000 golf cart-related accidents require a visit to the emergency room each year.
  10. In 2012 there were approximately 89,000 accidental injury-related deaths in homes and communities nationwide.

It goes without saying that good risk management practices could have prevented many of these injuries and deaths. Whether you’re competing in sports or enjoying leisure recreational activities indoors or out, safety should always be a priority. Visit our risk management page for helpful information on keeping you, your teammates, friends and family safe.

Source: Spotlight, Insurance Journal,  04 May, 2015, Vol. 93, No. 9.