Parent Awareness of Preventable Injuries for Juniors
Rosemont, Ill. — With more than 27 million players, tennis continues to be one of America’s fastest growing sports with participation having increased by more than 43 percent since 2000.
Premier tennis tour events and other top-tiered tournaments in the U.S. are flourishing. Monday’s start of the two-week, U.S. Open, one of the sport’s four Grand Slam Championships, is the culmination of the U.S. summer hard court tournament series, and expects to have more than 650,000 spectators throughout the 14 days.
The tournaments themselves are not only growing but the player field is as well. “But as participation booms and training increases at the younger ages, so does the risk for injuries, particularly overuse injuries in junior players. This includes the ubiquitous tennis elbow,” says Dr. Todd Ellenbecker, Director of Sports Medicine for the ATP Tour. Tennis elbow is an overuse injury of the muscles that extend the wrist and bend it backwards - the muscle most used when the tennis ball impacts the racquet.
“The STOP Sports Injuries campaign (www.STOPSportsInjuries.org) and our collaboration of nearly 60 supporters, including national health and safety organizations, hospitals, sports medicine practices and sporting organizations are attempting to educate the public about the importance of preventing athletic overuse and trauma injuries, especially in kids,” said Dr. James Andrews, STOP Sports Injuries co-campaign chair and renowned orthopaedic surgeon to numerous professional athletes. “While overuse is the cause of most tennis injuries, they can almost always be prevented with changes to technique and training routines,” Andrews said.
The STOP Sports Injuries campaign is recommending that parents and coaches promote proper warm-up, stretching and strengthening exercises, adequate hydration and pay close attention to the proper techniques and equipment needed to play tennis. It’s also vital for parents and athletes to recognize when an injury has occurred and not have the children “play through the pain.”
“We’re also seeing an increase in hip and lower back injuries suffered by junior players,” Ellenbecker said, most as a result of over training and intensity. When the muscles tire, more stress is placed on the bone and other structures. If this occurs too quickly, the tissues cannot adjust rapidly enough to accommodate the stress and injury occurs, causing a player to be out of the game for weeks in recovery.”
The STOP Sports Injuries campaign is an acronym for Sports Trauma and Overuse Prevention. Visit the campaign website at STOPSportsInjuries.org for more information on preventing tennis injuries.
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