Sports injuries and young athletes

PERKASIE, Pa. - Augsut 4, 2011

Parents gathered at Pennridge High School Thursday night to listen to doctors on how to keep their sons and daughters safe on the playing field.

"If we look at the number one age group for concussions, it's 11 to 15-year-olds," Dr. Mathew Grady, a pediatric sports medicine specialist at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, said.

The concussions don't just occur on the football field.

Girl soccer players are the third most likely subgroup to suffer a concussion.

That was stunning news for Pam Drugotch, who has a freshman daughter who plays the sport.

"The girls are running around with no protection and bang their heads, that's probably a more severe concussion then football with protection," Drugotch said.

Dr. Grady would like to see youth football scale back contact and emphasize skill sets.

"At the football level, I think you can become a great football player, including NFL football player, without playing tackle youth football," Grady said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 4.3-million emergency room visits annually are due to sports injuries. But millions more go unreported and doctors say a big reason for those injuries is overuse.

"A lot of these injuries I see are little league baseball players, little leaguer's elbow, little leaguer's shoulder, these are injuries that occur because kids are throwing the ball too often, too much," Dr. Johne Minnich of Upper Bucks Orthopedics said.

These doctors say parents and coaches need to take it easy on young student athletes, allow their developing bodies to mature, and to let them simply have fun.

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