When the weather warms up and spring turns to summer, there’s nothing better than spending time outside. If you’re spending time outside, there’s nothing better than engaging in sporting activities.
Whether you’re an avid biker who loves to ride around town or a youngster getting together at a local field to play ball with some friends or a high school athlete who’s putting in work in the offseason, there are no shortage of sports to engage in and no limit to the fun you can have.
As fun as sports are, however, the reality is that there’s always the potential for injury. The CDC estimates for example that more than eight million sports and recreation-related injuries are reported in a given year. Sometimes those ailments can be common summer injuries such as a sprained ankle or a pulled muscle. Other times, the injuries can be more serious like concussions and broken bones.
Different Sports Injuries
When it comes to sports injuries, it seems the list is always growing. But here are some of the most common summer injuries that tend to occur to people of all ages.
It seems every day we’re hearing more and more news about concussions and for good reason. Concussions are serious brain injuries that happen when there is a significant blow to the head. The symptoms associated with concussions can vary greatly, and well it generally takes about two weeks for a concussion to heal, the recovery time can vary from person to person.
Anyone who’s had these is familiar with the shooting pain that runs down the front of the leg. It’s a common running injury, but it can happen to anybody, especially if they increase the intensity of their exercise too quickly. Minor shin splints can be improved with ice and rest and pain meds, but others may result in stress fractures and could ultimately wind you up in a doctor’s office.
These are typically muscle or tendon injuries and occur when hamstrings are pulled either from overusing or overstretching the three muscles that combine to make up a hamstring. These can occur from a failure to warm up before exercising or from fatigued muscles in general. Depending on the severity of the strain, these can take a very long time to heal.
Some of the most common summer injuries often occur with shoulders. This can include sprains, strains, or dislocations. These can occur from participating in any number of sports including baseball, basketball, swimming, or even weightlifting. It’s recommended that strength building exercises be done in order to prevent shoulder injuries.
It’s estimated that a little more than half of sports injuries are knee injuries. If you’re a basketball player or a cyclist or a football player, your chances for injuring your knee are much much higher.
When you think about common summer injuries, you may not always think about your mouth. After all, it seems that a lot of sports injuries happen to the face such as cuts and scrapes or even a black eye, but not necessarily the mouth.
But dental injuries happen all the time. You may take a puck to the face playing street hockey and chip a tooth; you may fall off your bike wall riding, and knock a tooth out; you might even take an inadvertent elbow to the face playing pickup basketball.
However your injury occurs, if you have a dental injury, you absolutely need to get in to see an oral surgeon. They will be able to look at the extent of the damage and repair your tooth if necessary.
An oral surgeon or even your family dentist may be able to also suggest ways that you can prevent dental injuries in the future. If you have a child who’s an athlete and is in need of braces, your dentist might suggest clear aligners since they are effective at straightening teeth and won’t cause any harm during sports games.
In the summertime, many kids go off to summer camps for new adventures, hanging out with friends, and all kinds of fun activities. Many times, those fun activities include sports and there’s always potential for injury.
Camp directors and counselors and others who have taken time to invest in a campground for a summer camp have done so to make sure your kids have fun. But injuries can pop up out of the blue.
Common summer injuries in children can range from cuts and scrapes to sprained ankles and even concussions. They may be participating in a camp baseball game and twist an ankle running the bases or they may trip and fall in a puddle of dirty water and end up with cuts and scrapes on their face as well as a broken arm.
If you’re a parent, you’re probably wondering what do you can do to help your child prevent common sports injuries or common summer injuries? Thankfully there are many things you can do keep them healthy and enjoying the activities they love:
Talk To Them
One of the most important things you can do as a parent is to talk to your young athlete. Let them know that if something doesn’t feel right, they need to let you know right away.
Take Them For A Physical
If your athlete plays sports in school, they need a preseason physical to get clearance to play. This will allow you to address any concerns you or your child have.
Before your child engages in sports of any kind, they need to warm up. Make sure they stretch because it helps to loosen the muscles and prepare them to play. Common exercises like toe touches or even jumping jacks can’t really help them loosen up before they get into the meat of their sporting activity.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a child, a pro athlete or a recreational sports enthusiast: you need to rest. Nothing can make injuries happen faster than a lack of sleep, which causes muscle fatigue. For kids, that means they need to have adequate time to recuperate and even an off-season from their usual sporting activities. Overdoing it while they’re young may potentially affect them severely as we grow up.
Another key component of avoiding common summer injuries in young kids is to recognize the warning signs that an injury may have occurred, especially when it comes to sports. Warning signs can vary and parents need to be aware. It can be something like a limp while their child is running or a difference in the way they throw or perhaps the way they rub their leg during an activity. Any of these signs can be cause for concern.
So when should you see a doctor?
- If your athlete experiences consistent pain during or after their sporting activity.
- If your athlete has new or persistent swelling around a joint.
- If your athlete has recurring bouts of instability where their legs or arms just seem to give out.
- If your athlete experiences painful pops while they’re playing.
- If your athlete’s pain does not respond or get better after a significant period of rest.
While there are no shortage of fun sporting activities you can partake in during the summertime, it is absolutely important that you stay hydrated when the weather is hot.
No matter where you live, the weather in the summertime is hot. The average summer temperature in Texas is 81 degrees Fahrenheit while the average for Alaska is 52. Either way, you need to stay hydrated.
Not staying hydrated can open the door for a plethora of common summer injuries such as cramps and hamstring pulls and general fatigue. But not hydrating can also have some much more deadly effects, namely exhaustion and heat stroke.
If you’re outside in hot weather and you feel that your skin is dry or you’re getting a headache or you’re experiencing muscle cramps, rapid breathing or you’re feeling like you’re going to faint, get out of the heat immediately. Find somewhere to cool down. For this reason, it’s imperative that your home has working AC units to provide cool air during the heat of the summer.
Functioning AC units can be a godsend in hot weather, but it’s also important that you find other ways to cool down. Drink plenty of water; if you’re an adult, doctors recommend as much as two liters a day. If you are engaging in physical activities such as baseball or football, take frequent drink breaks or even hose yourself down with water to keep your body from becoming overheated. Also, make sure to avoid sugary drinks or alcohol because they can make you more dehydrated than you already might be.
You can have plenty of fun in the summer heat, but you need to take care of your body and make sure that you stay as cool as you can to avoid succumbing to any serious health problems that heat exposure can cause.
Follow Pool Rules
In the dog days of summer, there’s no quicker way to feel refreshed than going swimming in a pool.
There’s no doubt that swimming is a fun and refreshing activity, but if you do visit a pool it’s important to follow pool rules. These rules exist for a reason: they’re designed to keep people safe. Parents may be doing everything they can to protect our children from common summer injuries, but there’s also plenty of risk of injury when you visit a swimming pool.
To stay safe at a pool, follow these rules:
- Parents should keep an eye on their children at all times.
- Children should not be allowed to run alongside a swimming pool. That’s an easy way to slip and fall and get hurt.
- Listen to any rules little local lifeguard has when it comes to using the pool.
If you’ve got your own pool at home, it’s important that you do a regular pool cleaning to keep it usable for swimming. You’ll want to regularly monitor the chemical levels in your pool and make any needed adjustments. You’ll need to use your skimmer to remove any leaves or other debris to keep the surface clean. You will need to keep an eye on your water level and make sure it’s not too high or too low. You also need to keep an eye on young kids if they’re using the pool.
Staying Safe At Work
As you can see, there are all kinds of common summer injuries that can befall you if you’re not careful. But injuries can occur in other places too. One of the most common places where injuries occur is at work.
Whether you slip on a wet floor or fall off a ladder or are a victim in unsafe working conditions, it’s very easy to become injured at work.
Even if you’re involved in a simple slip-and-fall accident, a single workplace incident can have a major impact on a business. While you’re in a doctor’s office getting X-rays, your company is going to have its hands full with a loss of productivity, possible workers compensation paperwork and possible medical bills if your injury is serious.
Just like with common sports injuries, there are many things you can do to stay safe on the job:
- Be thorough in your work and don’t take shortcuts to finish jobs faster. This could also result in jail time if you violate the terms of your agreement. Bail bonds can get you out of jail but they can’t cover any injuries you incur.
- Make sure you have properly working equipment for whatever job you’re doing.
- Keep work spaces clean to avoid things from slip-and-fall injuries to more serious injuries like broken bones.
- Review your company’s wellness plan to know what your requirements are as an employee to stay safe and to keep coworkers safe.
No matter how old you are, what sport you’re playing or how safe you are, common sports injuries happen all the time during the summer and often without warning. The best thing you can do is to be careful and do everything you can to stay safe. Know your physical limits, stay hydrated, make sure to stretch and make sure you get plenty of rest.
By staying vigilant and paying attention to the signs your body is giving you, you can spend more time enjoying your summer and less time laid up with ice packs and heating pads from too much outside activity.