An injury to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) can be frustrating for adults, but it’s often devastating for young athletes who are eager to rejoin their friends on the playing field. It’s becoming more common for active kids to tear this important ligament that controls the stability and mobility of the knee, and the recovery process can take up to a year or more.
“The highest risk category is kids who are going through growth quickly because their bodies have elongated quickly and their bodies act as levers,” explains Dan Enz, PT, SCS, LAT, a physical therapist with the UW Health Sports Rehabilitation Department. “And with teens, who are often more active in competition and playing sports year-round, their bodies are sometimes growing faster than they can control. That lever puts increased force through their knee and puts them at greater risk.”
As parents, we’ve likely experienced those moments of doubt – are we doing enough to help our kids succeed? And one area where that’s prevalent is youth sports. It’s a billion-dollar business in the U.S. Kids as young as 7 are in training camps, traveling the state (sometimes the country) on competitive teams, and parents often feel like if kids haven’t been training before the age of 9, there’s no point to trying a new sport because they’ll be too far behind.
But there’s another well-known stat – by the age of 13, approximately 70% of kids in the U.S. stop playing organized sports because it’s no longer fun.
Scheduling a child’s school or sports physical can be a tricky task if put off until the last minute.
What many parents don’t know is that they can schedule these exams now and avoid the push for appointments that comes in August. While local clinics make every attempt to accommodate the demand, each new school year they see a heavy volume of students needing physicals for sports, kindergarten registration, and other periodic check-ups.
You know your family’s schedules are busy – sports, school, after-school, music lessons, play dates. Sometimes it can feel as though quality family time involves driving between activities. And what about those kids who enjoy being active – playing soccer, hockey and lacrosse? Or maybe it’s swimming, tennis and baseball? How much is too much?
Dave Knight, manager of UW Health’s Sports Performance Program, offers a relatively simple formula based on a child’s age and grade.
Aaahhhhh….the Olympics. The time where one becomes an expert in a sport they only watch once every 4 years (“What were the curlers thinking with that move?!?”, “That ski jump was way more difficult than the other that got a higher score!”). I have enjoyed watching this Olympics more than prior years. One reason is that there were many teenagers doing really teenagery things (I’m aware teenagery is not a word, but it should be). There’s the 17 year old gold medal snowboarder, Red Gerard, who overslept on competition day after a night of binge-watching Netflix (and he couldn’t find his coat, so had to borrow someone else’s). Another 17 year old gold medal snowboarder, Chloe Kim, tweeted about her dietary habits in between her runs. It’s good to see all the Olympic fame hasn’t changed them.