Originally created 08/07/03

Summer adds risk of injury



When 12-year-old Colin Laudino slid into home plate, the last thing he was thinking about was hurting himself.

After being called out, the second baseman and outfielder for the Columbia County Mariners noticed a pain in his wrist, said his mother, Trish Kinney.

Even though he slid feet first, as his coaches had taught him, the move broke his wrist in two places, Ms. Kinney said.

During the summer months, sports such as bicycling, basketball, football, soccer and baseball cause the most injuries for children ages 5 to 14, according to projections by the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission.

Nicky Martin also is dealing with an injury this summer. He broke his arm after slipping while running in the dark on the Fourth of July.

"We saw plenty of fireworks that night, unfortunately from the emergency room," said his mother, Tammy Martin.

Nicky, 9, said he looks forward to having his temporary cast removed so he can get a permanent one his friends can sign.

David Minter, an orthopedic surgeon at Orthopedic Associates of Augusta, said the injuries he sees among children vary depending on age.

Children younger than 12 usually have more injuries during the summer, and older children have basically the same number of injuries year-round, Dr. Minter said. He said most of the problems with younger children involve playtime activities. Older children generally have sports-related injuries that are likely to happen at any time, he said.

Because of the different causes, the injuries themselves are different, too, Dr. Minter said. Younger children are more likely to have wrist or elbow injuries, and older youths are more affected in the knees and ankles.

Swimming and playground equipment cause the most injuries for younger children, and baseball and soccer injure older children the most, he said.

Taking safety precautions such as drinking plenty of liquids, staying in good condition during the summer and knowing your limits can prevent injuries, said Joel Brenner, an adolescent and sports medicine specialist at the Medical College of Georgia.

Even though he's missed some of his favorite summertime activities, such as swimming, running and riding his bicycle, there is a lesson in safe behavior behind the cast for Nicky.

"I learned not to run in the dark at night," he said.

SAFETY TIPS

  • Avoid the peak hours of sunlight - 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Take frequent water breaks.
  • Wear sunscreen and reapply it frequently.
  • Listen to your body. Know your limits and don't try to play through an injury.
  • Use the proper safety equipment.
  • Make sure your children are supervised. Many injuries take place when adults aren't there to see what's going on.
  • Reach MaryAnne Pysson at (706) 823-3332.