Sports coaches told: don't treat children as miniature adults
Sports coaches need to remember that children are not miniature adults and should seriously try to reduce the risk of injury, a conference has been told.
Siobhan O'Connor, a lecturer at Athlone Institute of Technology, said a new study of injuries in children and adolescents found they are frequently due to training overload.
It is important to get the message out that these young people are developing at different rates and this should be considered when training, she told the conference organised by Athletic Rehabilitation Therapy Ireland in the Royal College of Surgeons.
The findings revealed that the rate of recurrent injury in adolescent boys in Ireland is 41.1pc, which is double that recorded in surveys reported in high schools in the United States.
This indicates that they may be returning to sport with problems in their balance and lack of proper rehabilitation, which increased their injury risks.
"The fear is that if young people are away from sport for too long with an injury they might not go back," added Ms O'Connor, to get that message out to coaches.
Some 29pc of the adolescent boys surveyed who were in fourth and fifth-year played on after they had suffered an injury.
Overall, the findings showed that 26.7pc of the primary school children in 10 different primary schools suffered an injury over the course of the school year,
The most frequent injuries were to the knee, fingers, thumb and ankle .
Many were involved in a range of sports.
The injury rate for adolescent boys was 36.6pc.