Children are being exposed to competitive sports at a younger and younger age every year. Kids as young as five begin participating in baseball, basketball, gymnastics, running, swimming, or tennis. All of these activities are no doubt healthy in moderation, but when parents declare their child has what it takes to be an Olympian at age seven, trouble will most likely arise.
Children’s bodies are fragile and perhaps not equipped to handle the rigorous training that is becoming increasingly popular. Moreover, some parents encourage their child to specialize in a sport before trying them all out. As a child, sports are about developing health, teamwork skills, and a desire to win. It is not fair to your child to declare them an Olympian at age six; if they have what it takes to be a professional athlete it will be obvious when their bodies finally develop.
A unique threat to childhood athletes is the pesky affliction of growing pains. It may be too long ago for you to remember the sting, but growing pains are extremely painful and the source of much suffering for children. Taking an anti-inflammatory, soaking the affected region in ice, or showing sympathy for the athlete are the most effective remedies for growing pains. However, there is no cure. Your child will have to suffer.
Repetitive motion injuries are amongst the most common for childhood athletes. The overuse of the shoulder or elbow in baseball leads to tendonitis, a painful injury. Also, a similar injury known as tennis elbow results from excessively swinging a racket in tennis. Sports that incorporate running and jumping also tend to strain the knee. These type of injuries are best treated by rest. Also, exposure to ice and intense heat can ameliorate some of the symptoms.