As you probably remember my OQMA(#2) discussed childhood (17 years-old and younger) overuse injuries, but what I did not come to was a conclusion of who is responsible, or who is MOST responsible. Is it up the parents to monitor their kids, or is it up to the coaches to put strict activity limitations on their athletes, or finally, is it up to health professionals to spread awareness of overuse injuries to both parents and coaches? Are there different ages when the primary responsibility shifts?
Of course I am going to say it is a three-headed monster, but I believe primarily it is up to the parents regardless of the athlete’s age, because parents truly know how much activity the children are taking part in. Coaches may not know that their athletes are participating in two other teams, or other activities outside of their current team. Parents must WANT to become educated regarding their childrens’ health and seek the advice of medical professionals. PTs, ATs, and DCs cannot be expected to provide everyone with all information, so it is up to parents (and coaches) to seek out information regarding their children/athletes.
What is your take on the situation? Who is responsible? Is there any responsibility put on the athlete?
Yes it is the parents who should be the responsible adults in this situation. However, if the education is coming from a healthcare provider, it is probably coming too late. There should be a manditory inservice to the parents sponsored by the league about the potential dangers of overuse injuries in adolescence. If these parents do not participate, their children can not play. There also needs to be a strong national campaign on preventing overuse injuries and the implications these injuries can have on future competition and lives of these children.
It ultimately falls on the parents.
I’d agree with Jay, there needs to be a way to bar athletes if their parents aren’t responsible enough to keep track of activity and overuse. At the end of the day they are responsible for the well being of their athlete and have to answer for that.
I think that coaches have a huge responsibility too. Kids, as we know, sometimes do not want to tell their parents everthing that is going on (maybe the league costs a lot, or the child really wants to play). The coaches should have the knowledge to notice overuse injuries, and also know how to properly limit their athletes. I believe in European youth soccer, coaches are taught a little bit of health info regarding injuries and activity limitations to prevent injuries, and overuse injuries are drastically lower than in the states. I think that besides the parents getting an “inservice” about overuse, coaches should be required to take a course and then the league must make sure coaches adhere to strict limitations on repetitive motions such as pitch counts (I currently treat a girl who was the ONLY starting pitcher for her high school softball team last year).
Brad you make a good point that there should be a national campaign regarding overuse injuries. I think that people are finally strting to become aware of the situation, but not enough is being done. I think that as long as 14 year-olds are being offered full basketball scholarships to college (thank you DePaul University ) parents, coaches, and leagues will turn a blind eye on overuse injuries.
As an athletic director, I try to educate my athletes and their parents about overuse injuries and the importance of rest and multisport athletes. Parents really need to educate themselves if they are going to push their kids.