TODAY   |  September 01, 2011

School sports: Keeping your child safe

Physician Dr. Jordan Metzl gives important advice for parents and kids who are starting fall sports programs, discussing the potential dangers and injuries to avoid.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> this morning on back to school today, fall sports safety. 20 million kids will hit the playing fields this month and unfortunately for some young athletes, that also means some accidents and potentially injuries. and how can you make sure that your child has a successful and injury free sports season ? a sports medicine physician here in new york, good morning. sports injuries dangerous at any age, but here you're talking about developing kids, teens. why is it so much who are important to make sure they're well protected?

>> kids are in development at all times. and as their bones grow and bodies grow, they're more prone to injury. they have cartilage growth lates that are susceptible to injuries.

>> and it does seem like every year we're reporting more and more sports injuries . is it me or is the number growing?

>> the we're seeing who are girls play sports , which has been terrific. but it means more kids playing. and the other thing we've seen is specialization in sports . we have year-round baseball player, year-round soccer players. they're great athlete, but we're seeing more injuries.

>> before your kid gets on a field, important to check in with a pediatrician?

>> there's a free examine that they do before the sport season. it really prevents injuries from happening.

>> let's talk about football because this is a sport where you see a lot of injuries and we have our young athlete here, kevin. as you know, they're especially concerned with head injuries an kcon and concussions. he's a big guy .

>> in football particularly, we see a lot of injury, bruises, fractures and concussions. the football helmet , feel how heavy this is.

>> oh, my goodness. and look at all the padding.

>> you'll see a lot of reference to using new generation helmets. unlike any sports injury , concussion heal slower in kids than they do in adults. it's important that they're very clear and having no symptoms before they go back into activity.

>> and another thing that we hear a lot about with heat related deaths. especially as they've been outside in august, september, really hot months. and we of course have to remind everybody to hydrate.

>> that's right. so it's interesting. sports that have a lot of padding leak football, kids have a tougher time dissipating heat. so those sports it's really important to take frequent breaks and to drink a lot of water and cool off.

>> what position do you play?

>> i'm a quarterback actually.

>> you look like a quarterback. good luck. let's move on to field hockey . big sport for girls , of course. we have 16-year-old emily here. she's on the usa olympic development squad. that's great. so what are some of the key injuries when it comes to field hockey ?

>> field hockey a great sport for girls to be involved with. the injury rate is relatively hoe. we see most of the injuries from getting msmack with a ball or stick. they wear shin guards and that's helpful because the ball is hard. so if that smacks you, it can make a big difference. and the stick also, those things can be receipt hard if they smack you. and then the hugh thing this year are these protective goggles. put those on. the girls aren't too excited at the beginning, but --

>> i think they look cool.

>> and they make a big difference in terms of protecting high injuries.

>> i think you look great. thank you, emily. moving on over here, we have our lacrosse player. one of the fastest growing sports in the country right now. good to see you. and what are the injury potentials here?

>> jose is a lacrosse player. lacrosse for boys and girls is different. boys have all the padding and helmet. lacrosse for girls is only a stick and goggles. it's a noncontact sport. with boys, the risk is getting shacked with a stick and ball, they wear helmets and shoulder pads, et cetera .

>> so you stay cool out there, okay? good job. and then quickly over here, we've got in young lady , stephanie. soccer player. and we have a lot of soccer players of course. shin guards , typical gear.

>> the key thing with girls soccer is that their risk of tearing your acl is five times higher than a boys soccer player. that happens because girls land especially aftof after puberty, that's how we don't want you to land. show us the jump exercises. we have kidding starting to work on these to prevent acl injuries.

>> great job. great job all you guys. thank you. good luck with all the sports