It’s Back to School and Back to Sports

Children and sports hernias

Backpacks are filled with fresh supplies. It’s time for students to head back to school, and back to school sports. Football games, cross country meets, and seemingly endless practices. Keeping up with both schoolwork and athletic commitments can be tough for students, and preventing injury is often the last thing on their minds.

With so many kids playing sports during the school year, we’ve all heard about the dangers of heat exhaustion or overworked muscles. Football, volleyball and field hockey to water polo, all sports carry the risk of another less heard of injury in young athletes: a sports hernia.

A sports hernia injury can happen to athletes of all ages, and in nearly any sport. This type of injury happens when the muscles in the groin area tear under stress from movements, such as. switching directions quickly, twisting and turning, or heavy lifting. It most commonly occurs in fast-paced or contact sports, like soccer or football. The main symptom is chronic pain, which may fade with time or rest but returns with activity, often even worse than before.

In general, children tend to be more active than adults. Beyond organized sports, kids participate in athletic activities every time they go to gym class, or even out to recess. It’s critical to teach your kids to recognize the signs of a sports hernia injury and how they can minimize their risk. As always, maintaining a balanced diet is vital, but regular stretching can also be beneficial. Above all, knowing when to take a break is an essential skill for young athletes to learn that will help prevent injuries of all types. No one wants to be a benchwarmer, and it can be a tough lesson for kids to understand until injury strikes.

The good news is that sports hernia injuries are less common in children and teens than in adults. The bad news is that they do happen. Educating your budding athletes on how best to prevent a sports hernia can help them stay healthy all season (and all year) long.