Keep your child athlete off the disabled list

Before each school year starts, you take your young quarterback, gymnast or outfielder for a sports physical. You hope not to see the doctor again until the following year, but some young athletes are not so lucky.

New estimates suggest one in 10 children receives medical treatment for a sports injury each year. Mary Solomon, DO, a pediatric sports medicine specialist at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, offers tips on how to head off game-halting incidents at the pass.

Bone, tendon and muscle injuries

Overview: Sprains, strains, fractures and other injuries can strike suddenly or develop over time. Your child’s risk may depend on his or her sport. For instance, basketball players are prone to knee ligament tears, while baseball and softball players may break bones sliding into bases.

Treatment: “For muscles and tendons, the best immediate treatment is RICE. That is rest, ice, compression and elevation,” explains Dr. Solomon. She adds, “See your child’s doctor or a pediatric sports medicine specialist for obvious broken bones, dislocated joints or long-lasting, severe swelling or pain. Medications, casts or splints, and sometimes surgery may be needed.”

Prevention: Dr. Solomon advises to make sure kids use the proper protective gear for their sport.

Concussions

Overview: Each year, about 500,000 kids sustain traumatic brain injuries, such as concussions – and about half of these concussions occur during sports. Concussions can cause long-term problems with learning and memory. “Watch your child closely after a blow to the head,” says Dr. Solomon. “Red flags can appear minutes or days later. They include headache, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and noise, and mood changes.”

Treatment: “Treating head injuries promptly is the best way to reduce long-term effects,” advises Dr. Solomon. UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital’s Sports Concussion team, which includes specialists from pediatric sports medicine, orthopaedic surgery and neuropsychology, has the specialized training, experience and technology to diagnose, manage and treat sports concussions.

Recovery requires resting physically and mentally for at least a week and often longer. Your child’s doctor will use brain testing to help decide when it is safe to play again. A second strike before the brain has healed could be fatal.

Dr. Solomon says, “Our Sports Concussion team offers preseason baseline assessments to schools, club sports, teams and individuals throughout Northeast Ohio to ensure that student athletes do not return to their sport before they are ready.”

Prevention: “Choose a helmet that fits snugly but is still comfortable,” says Dr. Solomon. “It should not move around while your child is wearing it.”

Our experts. Your neighborhood.

INTRODUCING PEDIATRIC SERVICES AT THE NEW UNIVERSITY HOSPITALS SOLON HEALTH CENTER

Now, Solon-area residents are closer than ever to nationally recognized pediatric specialists from the region’s most trusted name in children’s health care – University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital.

Pediatric specialties and services at UH Solon Health Center include:

  • Pediatric sports medicine
  • Center for Comprehensive Care, featuring expert outpatient care for children with complex chronic medical conditions and disabilities
  • Medical and surgical clinics
    • Developmental/behavioral pediatrics and psychology
    • Pediatric nephrology
    • Pediatric neurology
    • Pediatric orthopaedics
    • Pediatric rheumatology
  • Suburban Pediatrics for pediatric primary care
  • On-site lab and radiology with a staff specially trained to care for children

New! UH Solon Health Center

34055 Solon Road, Suite 200
Solon, OH 44139
For an appointment, call 440-914-7856.

Mary Solomon

MARY SOLOMON, DO
Pediatric Sports Medicine Specialist, UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital
Assistant Professor, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

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